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Commemorating MKO Abiola: A Gathering of Dignitaries and Advocates at Epetedo’s 30th Anniversary

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In a remarkable tribute to the late President MKO Abiola, the MKO Abiola House in Ikeja was a hub of activity on June 12, 2024, as notable figures from various sectors convened to mark the 30th anniversary of Abiola’s historic self-declaration.

The event, organized by the Coalition of Pro-Democracy Groups for A Better Nigeria and the Abiola family, celebrated the legacy of the June 12, 1993, election winner.

Deputy Governor Dr. Obafemi Kadiri Hamzat, representing Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was among the esteemed attendees, accompanied by key state officials. The gathering included prominent personalities such as Alhaji Tanko Yakassai of the Arewa Consultative Forum, represented by Comrade Shehu Musa Shittu, and Oloye Lekan Alabi, representing the Olubadan of Ibadanland – Designate, Oba Owolabi Olakulehin.

The event also saw the participation of cultural icons, religious leaders, civil society representatives, and members of the business community, all united in honoring Abiola’s memory. Dr. Hamzat highlighted the Sanwo-Olu administration’s efforts to transform the sorrow of the annulled June 12 election into a catalyst for progress in Lagos.

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The Abiola family, led by Chief (Mrs.) Bisi Abiola and Hon. Lola Edewor Abiola, played a pivotal role in the proceedings, with Comrade Awa Bamiji coordinating the event. Attendees paid homage to Abiola’s democratic ideals and called for the recognition of his contributions to Nigeria’s history.

The two-day program culminated in a public lecture, with a special moment captured as 10-year-old virtual artist Moronkeji Ebunoluwa Joshua presented a live-drawn portrait of Abiola to the Deputy Governor. The event concluded with a wreath-laying ceremony, reaffirming the enduring spirit of June 12 and MKO Abiola’s vision for Nigeria.

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The self-declaration of MKO Abiola on June 11, 1994, was a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s history.

It represented a bold step by Abiola to reclaim his mandate as the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election.

This event, known as the Epetedo Declaration, was Abiola’s response to the military government’s cancellation of the election results, which had been widely recognized as free and fair.

Abiola’s declaration was not just about asserting his victory; it was a call for the restoration of democracy and the recognition of the people’s will.

He proclaimed a “new Government of National Unity” and took symbolic actions such as “reconvening” the National Assembly and “reinstating” dismissed governors.

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This act of defiance was a significant challenge to the military regime and sparked a movement that would eventually lead to the end of military rule in Nigeria.

Unfortunately, this bold move led to Abiola’s arrest and his subsequent death in detention in 1998, just as he was about to be released.

The significance of his self-declaration lies in its embodiment of the struggle for democracy and the ultimate sacrifice Abiola made for the democratic ideals he championed.

His actions and the events of June 12 have since become symbols of the fight against oppression and the quest for a truly representative government in Nigeria.

The symbolic events of June 12, 1993, lead to the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day in the country.

StreetReporters.ng

Comrade James Ezema is a veteran journalist and media consultant. He is a political strategist. He can be reached on +2348035823617 via call or WhatsApp.

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