Some people are questioning the motive of President Muhammadu Buhari declaration of June 12 as public holiday and the posthumous honour of MKO Abiola.
My question to such people is, what is the right time for Buhari to have made such commitments? We must not forget the saying that the best place to start is where you and now.
The posthumous honour on Abiola is an acknowledgement that he won the election, which the Nigerian political establishment have denied since 1993. Also, June 12 marked the rejection by Nigerians of military rule.
It is saddening however that criminals and anti-democratic forces have hijack the political arena since 1999, while those who are the true heroes and heroines of democracy have been marginalized and excluded from governance.
The posthumous honour of Abiola and Gani is a first step. President Buhari should proceed to honour others including the late Chima Ubani, Beko Ransome-Kuti and the market women, without whom the struggle democracy will have failed. We must also not forget the prominent role played by the Concerned Professionals led by Prof. Pat Utomi and others.
I dare say that NADECO was a paper tiger. The June 12 Struggle was led by the Campaign for Democracy (CD). It was the CD that led all the mass mobilisation. NADECO never led any. I say this because I was involved in the struggle and was responsible for coordinating the mass mobilisation in Lagos Island.
For weeks prior to the beginning of the mass action, we worked tirelessly mobilising market women and other associations to support the struggle. We slept in homes of market women in Balogun market.
I and others were subsequently detained by the military. I was detained with Innocent C. Chukwuma, Abdul Oroh, Ogaga Ifowodo, Chima Ubani, Femi Falana, Sylvester Odion Akhaine, among others were also detained.
Some of the people now questioning President Buhari motive for declaring June 12 as democracy day and the posthumous honour being conferred on Abiola doubted the wisdom of us insisting on mass mobilization. These people, including NADECO limited their role to issuing press releases.
It is also important to note that some of the so-called heroes of the June 12 Struggle betrayed the cause. In addition, some, even among the pro-democracy activists ethnicized the struggle. Thank goodness, Chima Ubani among others insisted that the June 12 Struggle was a pan-Nigerian struggle.
The announcement by President Buhari regarding June 12 is an acknowledgement that our cause was just. It is an important step toward the consolidation of democracy in the country. What is required is that we build on it and ensure that never again will governance be hijack by the military.
It can also be an important foundation to ensure that governance is based truly on the will of the people.