Lagos unveils 37-feet Abiola statue

The Lagos State Government Tuesday unveiled a 37-feet statue to honour the hero of June 12, Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (M.K.O.) Abiola.

Lagosians from all works of life gathered at the MKO Abiola Garden, Ikeja to commemorate the 25th anniversary of June presidential election and celebrate the newly recognised hero and father of democracy in Nigeria.

Inscribed on the statue is: “Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, GCFR, was a foremost businessman, philanthropist and politician, who was very popular with the masses. He was also a reputable publisher. As a politician, he contested the June 12, 1993 presidential election under the Social Democratic Party (SDP), an election generally acclaimed to be the freest and fairest in Nigeria, before it was annulled by the then military junta of Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.

“Chief Abiola was incarcerated and died on July 7th 1998 while demanding for the actualization of his mandate. He was finally honoured by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 with the highest award of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, while June 12 was also declared as democracy day in Nigeria, ostensibly to validate the popularly held view that Chief M.K.O Abiola won the election and ought to have been sworn in as president.

“In the light of the above, Lagos State government hereby erects this monument to immortalize this illustrious and patriotic Nigerian, who lost his life in the struggle for the enthronement of democracy,” the inscription ended.

Commenting on the June 12 anniversary lecture, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said the theme of this year’s edition: ‘Restructuring: Antidote for ineffective Politics’, speaks for itself. He added that Nigeria’s democratic experience would still be far from ideal if the country fails to practice fiscal federalism.

“As a state and people, our stand on a restructuring process that will lead to fiscal federalism, devolution of power is very clear. Our present democratic experience may still be far from ideal but we must all make concerted efforts to entrench fiscal federalism, which is the only way to achieve true nationhood. We are absolutely convinced that it is the right way to go for us to realise the optimum potential and prosperity of the federating states and the nation.

“We all recall that a historic event happened on this very day in 1993 when Chief Moshood Kasimawo Abiola stood as a candidate in a presidential election adjudged to be the freest, fairest and most credible in the history of our nation. It was a day Nigerians demonstrated unity and put aside ethnic and religious biases to speak overwhelmingly with one voice.

“Sadly, the aspiration of Nigerians expressed through the ballot was truncated by the military. Since then, the struggle for democracy has been relentless, championed by progressive Nigerians, men of character and courage who challenged the military junta.

“With the return of democracy in 1999, Lagos State, driven by our irrepressible and indefatigable leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, continued to celebrate June 12 and always recognize its importance in our democracy.”

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