Having walked some days into the month of June, we were just recovering from the series of holidays we had in the month of May, especially for corpers serving in schools.
While many of us were rolling up our sleeves to get back to work, some corpers were wishing it could continue like that. The holiday rollercoaster is always cool though.
About 8 of us just retired to the living room after a long day we’ve spent in town enjoying ourselves as corpers who just received their allowances. Some were trying to figure out where they dumped their lesson notes the previous week while some were thinking of the kind of clothes to wear to work the following day. Suddenly, one of us jumped up and shouted; “another holiday is also coming up soon!”
We were like; “what’s she talking about?”
She then echoed “June 12 is around the corner. It’s a holiday also”. So everybody joined in the celebration of the holiday-to-come — another June 12.
Out of the enthusiastic atmosphere, I just heard one of the corpers asked: “what’s the June 12 about self”? And immediately I looked straight into her eyes in disbelief.
How can a serving-Nigerian corp member not know anything about June 12?
How can many Nigerians have quickly forgotten the historic event that welcomed and delivered Democracy to us?
Why is it that the only thing we ask about the date is “is there going to be a public holiday on June 12?”
However, June 12 is another bold chapter in the history book of Nigeria. It’s a day many will never forget in a hurry.
If we talk about Democracy today, we should equally give a good credit to the day that made it happen — June 12.
See some facts you should know about June 12:
Is a day popularly celebrated in honor of the presidential election held on June 12, 1993.
The presidential seat was contested for, by Late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, also popularly known as Chief M.K.O Abiola and his opponent, Bashir Tofa.
Chief M.K.O Abiola was generally accepted by all Nigerians to have won the presidential election but wasn’t declared as the winner. Therefore, the election was regarded as inconclusive.
The election was annulled by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida:
Because of alleged evidence that there were corruption and unfair activities in it, despite that many national and international observers declared the election to be Nigeria’s freest and fairest election ever conducted, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida annuled the election.
Gen. Sani Abacha take over:
The annulment of the election led to huge crisis all over the federation because everyone knows that MKO won the election. He even practically won in northern part of the country where his opponent came from.
So people started asking why would the election be canceled and thus arose several killings and destruction of properties across the nation.
The crisis was what pave way for Gen. Sani Abacha and he seized power from Babangida later in the same year.
The person of Abiola:
Why will they annul a clear election and denied the winner his mandate?
Perhaps it was due to the personality of Chief MKO Abiola as at that time.
Abiola was a rich, talented, influential and famous politician with a message of Hope to the nation.
He was a philanthropist that had gained lots of awareness both within and outside Nigeria.
Also at that time, his mandate that came with a hope message;“Farewell to poverty among the citizens” also had made him become a thorn in the flesh to many of the corrupt top military officials ruling the nation then.
I think that was one of the reasons they couldn’t stand MKO being declared the winner of the election.
Abiola Declared himself president:
When the obvious election result was canceled and Gen. Sani Abacha, who was now the man in control, also refused to bring justice to the June 12 election, MKO in 1994, moved ahead with his mandate by announcing himself as the winner of the election and the lawful president of Nigeria. This he did in the Egbetedo area of Lagos Island __an area mainly dominated by Lagos indigenes.
Abiola was at the same time ready for the aftermath of his actions because he won’t give up his presidential mandate for anything.
So he has already started using his influence to solicit for support from international community over his mandate.
MKO Abiola was arrested:
After Abiola declared himself president of Nigeria, he was also declared wanted by Gen. Sani Abacha who asked soldiers to find Abiola and bring him in for treason and felony.
Gen Abacha ordered the arrest if MKO and was brought to custody in 1994.
Chief MKO Abiola remained in detention for a whole 4 years. No one was allowed to see him and wasn’t also permitted to see any of his family members.
Abiola was given only a Holy Bible, Qur’an and fourteen guards to be his companion.
Many world leaders and human right activist, home and abroad, campaigned for the release of Abiola but Abacha said he would only do that if Abiola is willing to renounce his mandate. That is what Abiola will never do.
You should also know that it was said that the popular Nigerian prophet; Prophet T.B Joshua had earlier predicted the outcome of June 12 election and warned Abiola not to delve into it. But Abiola wants freedom and hope for all. So he wouldn’t give that away even to the cost of losing his life.
Abiola died for June 12 mandate.
While Abiola was still in detention, Gen Sanni Abacha had been making some plans to become a civilian president that no one will be able to remove again. So he has started killing some people that can stand in his way and getting some arrested.
But God caught up with him when he met his sudden death on June 8, 1998. Nobody could state specifically what caused the death of the general till today.
After the death of Gen Sanni Abacha, every Nigerians were looking forward to seeing MKO Abiola released. But unfortunately, after a month to the death of Abacha, instead of Abiola being released and given what rightfully belongs to him, his death was announced.
Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola died on July 8, 1998 — a month to the death of Gen Abacha.
Autopsy conducted on Abiola after his death revealed that MKO died a natural death (heart attack), while a man who should, of course, know the cause of his death (Major Al-Mustapha) said Abiola was poisoned with a cup of tea.
Till today, many of the Nigeria states, especially the western ones celebrates June 12 and remembers Abiola for his act of bravery and what it brought Nigerians.
Holidays are still being given in some states like Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, and Osun state on June 12 to remember the martyrs of Democracy that lost their lives due to the effect of June 12 presidential election in Nigeria.