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June 12, Democracy Day, MKO Abiola, Matters Arising and Matters Infinitum.

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June 12 was NOT a free and fair election. Let’s stop the hypocrisy and tell ourselves the truth. However, I recognize the fact that victors write the history of wars. 


My view on this matter may not appeal to the sentimentalists, but truth is forever self-evident. Two important reasons made June 12 not free and fair. In fact, one made it a combination of not just free/fair, but an Illegality. 


Firstly, Shehu Musa Yar’adua comprehensively won the SDP primary election and was poised for Aso Rock before his victory was annulled. Adamu Ciroma and Umaru Shinkafi were headed for a run-off until their election was annulled. Guess who promoted the annulments? Chief MKO Abiola through his National Concord Newspaper, which wrote a damning editorial on the primaries and called on the military Junta to annul the elections. It went further and urged the Junta to ban all the frontline contenders from future contests. The Junta holistically obliged. MKO Abiola entered the presidential race and the rest they say is history. 


Secondly, notwithstanding that the transition to democracy decree of the Junta imposed ouster clauses that prevented the courts from entertaining and adjudicating on matters concerning election schedules and related matters, Justice Bassey Ikpeme of the Federal High Court Abuja suspended the holding of the June 12 election while ruling on a case brought by one Abimbola Davis, a chieftain of Association for Better Nigeria (ABN). Instead of heading to the Appeal Court to vacate the High Court ruling, The Electoral Commission went ahead to conduct the June 12 election and cloaked it with illegality.


Irrespective of the above, I consider June 12 as a watershed event in our history and MKO Abiola, the man that broke every shackle of oppression and born to rule mentality. He was voted for by Nigerians from every religion and tribe despite being a foremost Islamic promoter. Moreover, he ran on a Muslim/Muslim ticket. The victory of MKO Abiola was hijacked by the Awoists and in their usual provincial manner isolated other Nigerians. The great man was prevented from gaining his freedom through their machinations. Unfortunately for him and to Nigerians, their best weapon for emancipation and economic liberation was killed in detention and the children of perfidy ran away with his name and propelled themselves to political relevance. MKO Abiola was never an Awoist and they never forgave him, even in death.


What brought President Tinubu to power today? MKO Abiola. Why is June 12 relevant today? MKO Abiola. Why did we move Democracy Day to June 12? MKO Abiola.


The big question: did we celebrate MKO Abiola on June 12? No.


The Democracy Day event yesterday was a celebration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu instead of MKO Abiola and the reflection of what made him the darling of Nigerians irrespective of our fault lines. The entire pomp and pageantry was a confirmation that they used MKO Abiola as a means to an end.

The final insult on the soul of MKO was the unveiling of the huge portrait of the President on the day the departed hero should have been at center stage. An Abiola portrait would have been befitting and refreshing in celebrating our Democracy Day.


May the Noble soul of Bashorun MKO Abiola continue to rest in perfect peace.




By Kelechi Jeff Eme 

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