Obasanjo, Jonathan Betrayed Nigerians by Refusing To Honour Abiola
Ado-Ekiti – Ekiti Recovery Movement (ERM), on Saturday, said past administrations headed by Olusegun Obasanjo, the late Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan betrayed Nigerians by their refusal to honour Moshood Abiola before now.
Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election that was annulled by Ibrahim Babangida’s military regime, died in detention on July 7, 1998 while fighting to reclaim his mandate.
While celebrating the 20th memorial of Abiola in Ekiti State, ERM described him as the pillar on which Nigerian democracy rests.
The group commended President Muhammadu Buhari for honouring the business mogul by conferring the highest honour of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on him to celebrate his achievement as a democrat.
In his address at the memorial lecture held in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, Olalekan Soyombo, the ERM coordinator, said the essence of the ceremony was to further restate that those who worked assiduously to rekindle the passion for democracy must be celebrated, to serve as a guiding principle for the coming generations.
Soyombo said: “After Abiola was incarcerated, what followed were surreptitious and subtle moves to coerce him to abandon the mandate that was freely given to him by Nigerians through ballot on June 12 1993. He resisted this vehemently and doggedly.
“His arrest and detention gave birth to the growth of the Pan-Nigeria pro-democracy movements. Many activists and patriots both in Nigeria and in the Diaspora, among whom was Dr. Kayode Fayemi, came together to form many organisations that were instrumental in the cause that finally led to the permanent confinement of the military to the barracks and set the country on the path of democracy which we enjoy today as a people.
“Pro-democracy organisations like National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Campaign for Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Campaign for Democracy (CD), Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) and Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) kept organising mass resistance movements in collaborations with trade union movements like Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and to force the military to recognise the democratic rights of the Nigerian people to elect a leader of their choice, which is what that June12 election represents.
“Many activists like Beko Ransome-Kuti, Gani Fawehinmi, Femi Falana, Kayode Fayemi and Segun Mayegun were arrested and jailed; some like Pa Alfred Rewane, Bagauda Kaltho and Kudirat Abiola ascended to martyrdom, while a whole lot of others like Wole Soyinka, Bola Tinubu, Opeyemi Bamidele, John Odigie-Oyegun escaped on exile for fear of their lives and to also take up the struggle from there.”
According to Soyombo, the July 14 governorship election reclamation struggle being championed by Fayemi in Ekiti is akin to the war waged against the military to retrieve Abiola’s mandate.
There is another liberation battle in Ekiti, following the harrowing experiences of the populace under Governor Ayodele Fayose in a manner akin to the civilian version of the military iron-fisted and Jack-boot rule in the state, he added.