June 12 represents total freedom, the free expression of the will of the people, justice, equality, respect for human rights and above all elimination of the twin evils of ethnicity and religion bigotry in our political space. The annulment cast a dark shadow on our nation. Regardless, I will completely align with the saying: “The Darker the Night, The Nearer the Dawn.”
Let me begin with the prophetic words and one of the songs of Sonny Okosun, a Nigerian musician, who was known as the leader of the Ozzidi band. He named his band Ozzidi after a renowned Ijaw river god, but to Okosun of the blessed memory, the meaning was “there is a message”. His surname is sometimes spelled Okosuns and his first name Sunny. He was one of the leading Nigerian musicians from the late 1970s to mid-1980s. Ozzidi King; exactly forty years ago in February 1983, he had sang a prophetic song with the title; “Which way Nigeria” In the music, the Ozzidi King asked:
Which way Nigeria? Which way to go? I love my fatherland. I want to know which way Nigeria is heading to? This puzzle has led most of our compatriots in different walks of life to get terribly worried about governance in our beloved country Nigeria, particularly at the National level since the end of the First Republic (i.e. the period between 1st October, 1960 when Nigeria gained its independence and the 15th day of January, 1966 when the first military coup d’etat took place in Nigeria). Fast-forward to June 12, 1993, the first election after the 1983 military coup that terminated the country’s Second Republic precisely in the night 31st, December 1983.
Ironically, the number one topic in the polity at that moment is June 12, 1993 election, adjudged as freest and fairest in the history of the country. the elections was the outcome of a transitional process to civilian rule spearheaded by the military ruler, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. The unofficial result of the election – though not declared then by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) – indicated a victory for Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), who defeated Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC). Sadly, the election results was annulled, since then as a troubled nation we’ve been growing in darkness up till now.
For those who do not know, particularly the youths of our beloved country Nigeria, who are usually fed with wrong information; this is the real issue, the annulment led to protests and political unrest, including the resignation of Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida and a weak interim civilian government, and culminated in the continuation of military rule in the country with Sani Abacha ascending to power as the military head of state via a bloodless coup later in that same year. The issue of the election regained prominence following the declaration of June 12, as Democracy Day by President Muhammadu Buhari and the posthumous GCFR award conferred on MKO Abiola, presumed winner of the election.
Interestingly, it’s been three decades since the events of the June 12, 1993 elections which annulment were marked by mass strike actions and protests. Nigerian working masses, trade unions, civil society groups and youth protested against the annulment of the election by the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida regime. June 12 represents total freedom, the free expression of the will of the people, justice, equality, respect for human rights and above all elimination of the twin evils of ethnicity and religion bigotry in our political space. The annulment cast a dark shadow on our nation. Regardless, I will completely align with the saying: “The Darker the Night, The Nearer the Dawn.”
Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola is the symbol of the freest, fairest and transparent election in the annals of our history, an election where no blood was shed, where a muslim-muslim ticket won and an election which defied tribalism and regionalism. This is where the “Which way Nigeria” of the Ozzidi King pricked the mind. As a nation destined for greatness and having overcome the twin evils of ethnicity and religion by what June 12 represent and the sacrifice of Bashorun Abiola. I, therefore, recommend a change of eagle square to MKO Abiola square before the next major event where the 16th President C-in-C of the federal republic of Nigeria swearing-in ceremony will take place. Therefore, in honor of the pillar of sport in Africa, we should allow the twin evils of ethnicity and religion to remain in the past.
Permit me to conclude this article dedicated to our compatriots home and abroad particularly at a trying time like this: I like to say that encouraging our friends in their toughest times is actually a great way to reaffirm our own decision to never give up on ourselves. When facing adversity, we may think we’ve reached our limit, but actually the more trying the circumstances, the closer we are to making a breakthrough. The darker the night, the nearer the dawn. Victory in life is decided by that last concentrated burst of energy filled with the resolve to win. Nigeria will be great again. ARISE ‘O COMPATRIOTS