Twenty-seven years after Nigeria lost what would have been third republic to military dictatorship, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has explained that Nigeria would have developed and advanced politically had it been June 12, 1993 election was not truncated and those that fought the struggle were not sent on exile.
Sanwo-Olu said that before the military snatched the third republic, machinery comprising elected officers across the country were set to drive the new government but that their fate was left wanting.
According to him, acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election, late Chief Moshood Abiola, and several other politicians including National leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who was an elected senator, Chief Dele Momodu, and others were Nigerians that laid their lives during the struggle even after the mandate was denied.
Speaking on Friday at a youth Democracy Day celebration held virtually, moderated by an executive board member of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dayo Israel, and attended by Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, daughter of the acclaimed winner of the election, Dr. Hafsat Abiola-Costello, and others, the governor stated since then, Lagos had been at the epicenter of the struggle to ensure the country return to democracy.
He noted that the state contribution to the struggle was the annual celebration of the day since the start of fourth republic even before the Federal Government made it the country’s democracy day.
He said: “We had everything working before the process was truncated by the military because all the arms of government were already elected except the President. There was full government and what was left then was for the elected officials to receive their president which would have been Chief MKO Abiola. But he never be. We had everything working before the military came, truncate the process and the action of the military set us backward”.
He noted that since the return of the country to democracy in 1999, Nigeria has witnessed election back-to-back and the country has benefited from this sustained democracy.
“Thank God that we have seen 21 years of a democratic process and we are believing that democracy has come to stay in the country. I am truly happy that we have been able to sustain the democracy we have now”, the governor added.
To sustain the ethos of June 12, he disclosed that his administration would always introduce people-oriented policies and programmes to ensure Lagosians get the dividend of democracy.
“On the part of my administration, we will continue to make the ethos of democracy our guiding principle. We will introduce policies and programme for the greatest number in the state.
“We will ensure that all the promises made to the people while seeking public office are fulfilled. Our administration will often ensure that the people remain at the front burner of all our programmes”.
The governor also recounts his experience during first anniversary of the annulment and connection between his daughter and late Chief Moshood Abiola.
Sanwo-Olu added that the child, a female, was born on the first anniversary after the annulment when the entire country was on lockdown to demand that the annulled election stands, Abiola declared as the winner and sworn in as president.
The governor further revealed that he had to shuttle between the hospital and joining the protest to ensure none was neglected for the other.
He said: “In 1994, the first anniversary of the June 12 annulled election, I was taking my wife, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, to the hospital to deliver our first child. And due to how the day was, I had to shuttle between the hospital and joining the protest for the democracy we are joining today.
“Thank God the delivery was successful and I had to christen my first child after Chief M.K.O Abiola. And because she was a girl, we christened her Moshooda and that was what we did to remember that day”, the governor added.