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June 12: Family seeks Abiola’s presidential entitlements from Tinubu

The family of the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, MKO Abiola, yesterday expressed hope that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will pay…

The family of the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, MKO Abiola, yesterday expressed hope that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will pay the family all the presidential entitlements due to the late business mogul.

There have been calls on the federal government to declare Abiola the winner of the election and pay presidential entitlements to his family.

Abiola contested the election under the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) alongside his running mate, Babagana Kingibe.

The family’s secretary and one of the sons of Abiola, Ameen, made the demand yesterday while speaking to newsmen during a prayer session held at the MKO Abiola family house in the Gbagura area of Abeokuta.

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He said, “I believe that this government has the capacity to be able to ensure that all incentives that are due to the Abiola family get to the Abiola family. So, I believe this government would do everything it takes to make sure that all that we ought to have gotten from the previous government would get to us.”

Beyond payment of the entitlements, Ameen urged the government to implement most of the people-oriented policies which Abiola promised Nigerians in his manifesto.

In his remarks, the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, said it was important to continue to reiterate the role played by the late Abiola in fighting for democracy, 30 years after.

Abiodun, represented by his deputy, Mrs Noimot Salako-Oyedele, added that Abiola lived a good life worthy of emulation.

“He lived a good life we should learn from. We should learn from his good deeds. He always followed the tenets of God in all his activities,” he said.

Abiodun, who also spoke at a rally organized in celebration of June 12 democracy day held at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta, urged Nigerians to give the president maximum support and also ensure that the nation’s democracy was continuously protected.

The governor called on Nigerians to continue to pray and support the administration of Tinubu, adding that petrol subsidy removal was in the best interest of the country.

President leads VIPs to mark Democracy Day

The president on Monday inspected a Guard of Honour at the Forecourt of the Presidential Villa in Abuja as part of activities scheduled to mark the 2023 Democracy Day celebration.

The Guards’ Brigade Cultural Group, made up of wards of the Guards’ Brigade personnel, put up a colourful cultural display, representing the various geopolitical zones of the country as the President and other dignitaries watched with rapt attention.

Vice President Kashim Shettima, who arrived the Forecourt a few minutes to 10am; was joined by President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Senator George Akume.

Others present at the Forecourt are Lagos State governor, Jide Sanwo-Olu; former Zamfara State governor, Bello Matawalle; National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu; and the party’s secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore.

Also at the event were the Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor, who led the service chiefs; Inspector-General of Police; other senior security chiefs and other senior government officials.

Kingibe seeks Nigerians commitment, sacrifice 

Kingibe, at the event marking the significance of the June 12, 1993, Presidential Election, urged Nigerians to be inspired by Abiola’s commitment and willingness to sacrifice his life.

The former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), who made the appeal while answering questions from State House reporters, said the nation would forever be grateful for his sacrifice for the country’s democracy.

When asked if he thought the country had done enough to recognise what Abiola truly stood for, he said, “Well, I don’t know when it is enough; enough? We can’t bring him back and whatever we do, will never bring him back to life. But we should never forget.

“We should be inspired by his courage. We should be inspired by his steadfast commitment, and we should be inspired by his willingness to sacrifice his life, which he has, and for which I think the country will forever be grateful.”

In his own message, the new SGF, Senator George Akume, said June 12 represented a deliberate attempt to enthrone the sanctity of democracy and due process as far as elections were concerned.

Also speaking to journalists, the Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma, admonished politicians to learn from other climes how to imbibe sportsmanship in politicking.

 “When you win, you’ll celebrate, when you lose, you’ll wait for another time. So, we’ll continue to advise and encourage practitioners in politics to eschew violence and take to this path of honour,” he said.

INEC, APC dishonoured MKO’s memory – PDP

Meanwhile, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on Nigerians to use the June 12 Democracy Day to demand the entrenchment of democratic tenets in the country.

In its Democracy Day message to Nigerians, PDP alleged that the “barefaced manipulations of the 2023 general elections by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), amounts to an unpardonable assault and rape of democracy and disregard for the will of the people; the very ills which Chief MKO Abiola fought and died for.”

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, in a statement, said June 12 epitomized the struggle by Nigerians against corrupt, manipulative and anti-democratic system; against injustice, impunity and electoral fraud.

The party added, “It is heartrending that all the steady progress and gains made by successive PDP administrations in reforming our electoral system have been completely wiped off by INEC in the conduct of the 2023 general elections.

“Our party however urges Nigerians not to despair but remain optimistic and law-abiding in their hope for a better nation which they earnestly yearn for.”

CDD congratulates Nigerians

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has congratulated Nigerians in commemorating the progress and resilience of the nation’s democracy, 30 years after the annulled June 12, 1993 elections.

The CDD Director, Idayat Hassan, in a statement on Monday, noted that the celebration was the first democracy day after the 7th consecutive transition of power between civilian governments.

“Today is an opportune time to reflect on the progress, challenges, and the collective responsibility we bear in advancing and strengthening democracy in Nigeria.

“June 12 serves as a reminder of our commitment to democratic values and principles that form the foundation of our nation. It symbolises the aspirations of the Nigerian people for a just, inclusive and accountable society.

“It also serves as a reminder to recognise how far Nigeria has evolved as a nation in ensuring the sustenance of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The 2023 election cycle is proof of the maturing of Nigeria’s democracy,” Hassan said.

She said the CDD as an organisation dedicated to promoting democracy and good governance fully recognized the importance of citizen participation, transparency, and the protection of human rights in building a strong democratic nation.

The CDD boss urged all Nigerians, government institutions, civil society organisations, and the private sector to recommit themselves not only to the ideals of democracy, but also to the strengthening of democratic institutions, promoting accountability, protecting human rights, and fostering an environment where every citizen’s voice is heard and valued.

 

 

By Muideen Olaniyi, Abbas Jimoh, Baba Martins (Abuja) & Peter Moses (Abeokuta)

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