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Kanu, others honour Abiola

President of South East/South South Professionals of Nigeria, Emeka Ugwu-Oju (left); the late MKO Abiola’s son, Abdulmumini; former President, Nigerian Bar Association, Priscilla Kuye; President, Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, Hafsat Abiola-Costello; President, Women Arise and Campaign for Democracy, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin; Chairman, National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd); Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Minerals Resources, Iyabo Obasa; former Chairman, Amuwo Odofin Local Council of Lagos State, Ayodele Adewale and Nollywood Actor, Ayo Badmus, at the 17th  anniversary of the death of Abiola in Ikeja, Lagos…yesterday                      										            PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

President of South East/South South Professionals of Nigeria, Emeka Ugwu-Oju (left); the late MKO Abiola’s son, Abdulmumini; former President, Nigerian Bar Association, Priscilla Kuye; President, Kudirat Initiative for Democracy, Hafsat Abiola-Costello; President, Women Arise and Campaign for Democracy, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin; Chairman, National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd); Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Minerals Resources, Iyabo Obasa; former Chairman, Amuwo Odofin Local Council of Lagos State, Ayodele Adewale and Nollywood Actor, Ayo Badmus, at the 17th anniversary of the death of Abiola in Ikeja, Lagos…yesterday<br />PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

SEVENTEEN years after his death, civil societies and human rights activists yesterday converged at the Ikeja residence of Moshood Kasimawo Abiola (MKO) to lay wreaths in memory of the late philanthropist and acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.

Speaking during the occasion, the organiser of the event and President, Campaign for Democracy (CD), Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, recalled that “Abiola was eliminated after over four years of incarceration due to his blunt refusal to compromise his principled belief that a mandate given him by over 14 million Nigerians cannot be overturned.”

Okei-Odumakin, who also heads the Women Arise for Change Initiative (WA), said that Abiola displayed uncommon courage, unequal dignity and unusual candour in the defence of the mandate given him by change-seeking Nigerians and engaged all the illegal regimes that held sway while he languished in jail.

CD) and Women Arise, she noted, enjoin Nigerians to continue to insist on the gazette of June 12 election results, the post-humous recognition of Abiola as president, and his portrait to be displayed among Nigeria’s past presidents.

Others include that President Muhammadu Buhari should, in line with the resolution of the past Senate, that the Abuja National Stadium be named after him, and that a judicial commission should unravel how the “treason” was carried out in custody.

Similarly, Chairman of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, recalled that on June 12, 1993, Nigerians took a referendum for peace, prosperity, and change from military rule to a federal Nigeria.

“All these are things that are yet to be done. Though we have left military rule, so to say, we still have other things to attend to,” he said. “Our problems stem from military rule and the annulment of the June 12 election.”

For the President of Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), Hafsat Abiola-Costello, the June 12 was a great struggle by the Nigerian people, “a struggle to have true democracy in Nigeria, by which I mean the kind of democracy that really represents Nigeria.”

“We saw that their voices and demands and desires were not allowed to prevail in that instance and we are fortunate that even though we lost MKO Abiola, Kudirat Abiola and so many Nigerians in the cause of that struggle, we were able to get democracy nonetheless.

“However, we disappointed that the kind of democracy we have had since 1999 is the kind that provides growth but not really address poverty. The MKO mandate, ‘Hope 1993,’ was about farewell to poverty. We have not said farewell to poverty.”

She added: “Indeed, poverty has deepened across Nigeria and we are beginning to see some of its fruits in Boko Haram, kidnapping, unemployment, mass migration of young people – either as sex workers to Italy or as migrants looking for greener pastures abroad. We need to deal with this problem.”

Other rights activists at the event included former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Priscilla Kuye, social crusader, Comrade Femi Aborisade, and former chairman of Amuwo-Odofin local council, Comrade Ayo Adewale.

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