June 12 Should Have Been Declared Democracy Day Since 1999 – Abiola’s Daughter
Hafsat Abiola-Costello, a daughter of the late businessman and politician, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as Nigeria’s new democracy day.
In an interview on Channels Television on Thursday, she said the honour was long overdue as it should have come since 1999 – a year after her father was murdered.
She, however, said she was excited and indeed grateful for the development adding that it is a recognition of the freedom and democracy for which he (Abiola) and the citizens had fought hard for.
“I cannot believe it, I’m still praying that somebody won’t wake me up and say I was sleeping or something.
“I just cannot believe it, it’s so long overdue. (25 years), it should have been done in 1999. June 12 should have been declared the day of transition in 1999 and it was not and that was already a sign that Nigerians were going to be cheated.
“We had fought, fought soldiers and the army who wanted to oppress and dictate to us and when it was now time for us to begin this new democratic transition, it was as if they pulled out someone that would continue to protect their interest and not recognize and validate the interests and needs and rights of the people of Nigeria.
“Furthermore, she said, “We saw with June 12 that even before an Army, journalists came out, wrote articles, people were on the streets, labour unions went on strike, market women went on strike and shut down a powerful military dictatorship”.
Hafsat also believes that for Nigeria and indeed the African continent to continue its quest for freedom and the practice of true democracy, Nigeria has to continue to push through its challenges.
“If we want this democracy to continue to deliver for us, we must be prepared to continually engage, challenge and demand because the whole freedom, not just of Nigeria but of Africa and indeed of the black world, is resting on Nigeria, so we cannot get Nigeria wrong,” she said.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday announced June 12 as the new date which Democracy Day will be celebrated in Nigeria.
He also conferred a posthumous GCFR title on the presumed winner of June 12, 1993, presidential election, Moshood Abiola.
The President in a tweet on his official handle explained why June 12 will replace May 29. He noted that June 12 is a more symbolic day.
“Dear Nigerians, I am delighted to announce that, after due consultations, the Federal Government has decided that henceforth, June 12 will be celebrated as Democracy Day.
“We have also decided to award posthumously the highest Honour in the land, GCFR, to Chief MKO Abiola.
“In the view of Nigerians, as shared by this Administration, June 12, 1993, was and is far more symbolic of Democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29, or even October 1,” his tweet read. Read Full Text Here.