For the first time since 1999, Nigerians are celebrating Democracy Day on June 12, instead of May 29 which was the case in the past 25 years. This change in date is a fulfillment of the promise made last year by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to honour the late Chief Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale, MKO, Abiola whose June 12, 1993 presidential election victory was annulled by the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida on June 23, same year.
Before now there had been sustained strident agitations in many quarters that June 12 be declared Nigeria’s Democracy Day in honour of Abiola who died while fighting for the revalidation of his presidential mandate and is widely regarded as Nigeria’s true martyr of democracy. But last year, President Buhari revisited the June 12, 1993 presidential election and posthumously declared Abiola as the winner and also posthumously honoured him with GCFR, while declaring June 12 as Democracy Day.
To underline the significance of June 12 as Nigeria’s new Democracy Day, President Buhari also announced his intention to deliver his inauguration speech today, June 12, 2019.
The late Chief MKO Abiola was noted for his wise cracks and jokes. One of his most quoted jokes is that you cannot shave a man’s head in his absence. Today he is inevitably absent when his June 12, 1993 presidential election mandate is being celebrated.
But in his absence are great minds(family, friends and pro-democracy activists, especially NADECO chieftains) who have a lot to say about the man and the historic significance of June 12.