Home Africa AS NIGERIA MARKS T JUNE 12 STRUGGLE: THE LESSONS OF THE EVENT

AS NIGERIA MARKS T JUNE 12 STRUGGLE: THE LESSONS OF THE EVENT

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Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, an extraordinary philanthropist, business mogul, and politician lives in the minds of millions of people, even 20 years after his death on account of his very salient contributions to national development. Evidently, MKO Abiolas name will forever remain indelible in history as a benevolent and courageous personality who braved all odds to leave a mark on the sands of time. He is being honoured today post-humously with the highest honour in Nigeria The Grand Commander of the Federal Republic. Equally being remembered is Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi, a stormy petrel and nonconforming human rights activist, who was detained several times on account of his boldness and dissidence. Gani was always ready with his bags of medicinal drugs, awaiting law enforcement agents to come for him. Also being honoured is Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, who paired with MKO to emerge the acclaimed winner of the aborted June 12, 1993 presidential election. Looking back, the lessons of the 1993 election are very obvious. They show very clearly that Nigerians could decide to vote for the best candidates, irrespective of religion, tribe, ethnicity, and other ills that have plagued and enveloped the political arena. The election of Abiola and Kingibe, practitioners of the same religion signify that to be able to build a polity of the dream envisaged, the nation must do away with factors like federal character, quota system, and zoning have continued to militate against the progress and prosperity of Nigeria. Indeed, the quality of participation and representation in government must not be lowered for competence and merit to suffer. Abiola had a wide acceptance all over the nation, defeating the issue of place of origin. Where people come from, religious inclinations, ethnicity, tribalism and narrow-mindedness must not be allowed pre-eminence over important considerations which should ideally throw up the best materials that must steer the ship of state constructively and admirably. MERIT A clear allusion to this development was fiercely argued by the Sunday Sun tabloid of November 9, 2008. It posits that: The quality of political participation and representation needs to be given a pride of place in our quest for a better and stable polity. One of the banes of our democracy is that people of questionable character, whose lack of integrity is made worse by little learning, have hijacked the political process. They have infiltrated and taken control of the political parties and therefore choose…

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