June 12, 1993 remains a defining moment in Nigeria’s democratic history. It was a day the Nigerian military led by General Ibrahim Babangida annulled a presidential election adjudged as the most credible in the nation’s annals. It was a day the collective resolve of Nigerians to enthrone a truly Pan-Nigerian leadership was sabotaged. The result of this action was the needless political crisis Nigeria was thrown into.
To actualize the mandate freely given to the legendary philanthropist, Chief Moshood Abiola (of blessed memory), pro-democracy activists made huge sacrifices. Many lost their lives, some were maimed, while others were incarcerated. The scars of the June 12 remain to this day.
I made my modest contribution in the June 12 struggle under the leadership of the incomparable Chief Gani Fawehinmi (may Allah have mercy on his soul). With other comrades, we fought relentlessly for de-annulment because we saw in Chief Abiola the hope of a united and prosperous Nigeria. But all that, they say, is history.
As the Federal Government and all Nigerians celebrate June 12 today, I join in saluting all heroes and heroines of the struggle. Their sacrifices watered the ground for the democracy we are enjoying today. They gave their all so that our democracy may grow and flourish.
The challenge before all of us is to work assiduously for the expansion of democratic space in our dear country. Never again shall we allow anti-democratic elements to take over the reins of power. We must stand sentinel in defence of democracy.