Gyang Bere, Jos
A Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former member of the House of Representatives, Edward Gyang Pwajok SAN said late Chief MKO Abiola has been honoured with the celebration of June 12 as democracy day in Nigeria.
He noted that June 12 Presidential election has been adjudged as the most credible poll Nigeria which Late Chief MKO Abiola defeated Bashir Tofa in his home state Kano but regretted that the poll was annulled.
Pwajok, in a press statement in Jos said the bill which he sponsored in 2018 at the National Assembly led to the amendment of Public Holidays Act by deleting 29th May as democracy day and replacing it with June 12.
He noted that the struggle for the return of democracy in Nigeria was championed by late MKO Abiola and urged Nigeria to emulate the June 12, 1993 presidential election which was free, fair and credible.
“In Nigeria, the struggle for Democracy climaxed with the June 12 1993 election which Chief MKO Abiola won but which the Military regime of General Babangida annulled. This led to series of pro Democracy struggles which even led to the death of so many including Pa Rewane, Bagauda Kalto, Mrs Kudirat Abiola and ultimately MKO Abiola himself
“Abiola defeated Bashir Tofa in his home state Kano. MKO was a business tycoon who sacrificed his wealth to fight to claim the mandate Nigerians gave him. He died in July, 1998 under the detention ordered by General Abacha.
“I thank the Almighty that I had the historic duty to sponsor the bill in 2018 in the National Assembly which led to the passage of the Bill for an Act to amend the Public Holidays Act wherein the Schedule to the Act was amended by deleting 29th May and replacing it with June 12.
“The struggle for a return to Democracy was epitomized by Abiola. The nation went to the brink as a result of the suppression of the pro Democracy struggles by the Juntas of Babangida and Abacha. The struggles had many martyrs .The stability of the 4th Republic owes much to the determination by Nigerians to protect democracy.
“The Democracy we enjoy today owes much to those Martyrs. It is therefore fitting that the hero of June 12, MKO Abiola has been honoured by the declaration of the day as a public holiday.”
Pwajok said it is debatable whether Nigeria Government has lived up to it’s expectation as citizens are been killed by terrorists and state security agents.
“It is debatable if Governments have lived up to the expectations of Nigerians. It is not yet uhuru. Nigerians are not free as we are been killed by Terrorists and state security agents Whereas Americans are freely demonstrating against the excesses of the Police, the FCT authorities are erecting a fence around the Unity Fountain the Centre of peaceful protest in Abuja.”
He decried that Nigerian citizens are still seeing Fundamental Rights as privileges or favour extended to them by government which citizens of other countries takes for granted.