By: ODEYEMI SAMUEL, Akure
The struggle for the actualisation of June 12, 1993 election reached a climax Tuesday in Akure, the capital of Ondo State as the state government, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu declared the day a Work free day.
A former Governor of Ekiti state and the immediate Minister of Mines and Power, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who was expected to Chair the occasion was represented by Prince Olu Adegboro while the former Publisher of Tell Magazine, Mr. Dare Babaribsa, a University Don. Prof. Bayo Aborisade and a Human Rights Crusader, Comrade Ifeanyi Odili formed the panel of Discussants.
Each Discussants spoke on the theme of the 2018 celebration in Ondo state which is, “June 12, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” narrating the ordeals they passed through and their experiences in the hands of the Military junta, as the events of June 12, 1993 became fresh in the memory of all participants at the occasion.
While Mr. Dare Babarinsa recalled the historical perspective, detailing how the then Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babangida lured him into contesting the Presidential election against his wish, and how he showcased him across Aso Rock, congratulating him as the next President, only to annul the most peaceful election in the history of Nigeria.
In his own contribution, Prof. Bayo Aborisade gave a vivid account of how the Committee for Defence of Human Rights, which he co founded, metamorphosed into Campaign for Democracy (CD) and how the members were chased about by the military as soon as the election was annulled.
Prof. Aborisade how ever disclosed that the aim of the people for participating in the aborted election was “to see the back of the military out of power” by voting for Abiola, who was more friendly with the military and more in opposition to late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
The National Secretary for CD, Comrade Ifeanyi Odili was not left out in sharing his experience of how members of the CD were being chased from pillar to pole and how his wife, the mother of his children deserted him few days after he was put into detention, leaving all the children to roam the streets before he was eventually released and came to their rescue.
The ceremony was climaxed by a brief playlet, which narrated how people voluntarily casted their votes for Chief M K O Abiola the symbol of June 12,1993 election, how his wife, late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola was assassinated and the subsequent arrest and detention of the acclaimed winner of the election shortly after declaring himself the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Dignitaries present at the occasion were Traditional Rulers, members of the National Assembly, Top Civil Servants, Security Chiefs to mention a few.
The Deputy Governor of Ondo state, Chief Agboola Ajayi who represented the Governor at the occasion also stressed the important of June 12 to the nation’s Democracy. He how ever commended every participants for making the year 2018 edition a successful event.
earlier, the Ondo state Government had declared Tuesday, June 12, 2018 a work free day as business activities were paralysed in banks and other Commercial Institutions to join other states in honour of the Federal Government’s gesture to declare the day a Democracy day, signalling an end to May 29.