Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has described the June 12, 1993 presidential election as a turning point in the annals of Nigeria, saying that the supreme price paid by the acclaimed winner of the election, the late Chief M. K. O. Abiola, can never be forgotten.
He stated this in a statement issued in Ibadan on Monday by his Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy, Mr. Yomi Layinka.
The governor expressed the regret that 24 years after the election adjudged to be the freest and fairest in the history of Nigeria, the ideals for which Abiola stood had yet to be realized.
While describing the late politician and business mogul as a symbol of democracy, he praised him for his strong conviction that ordinary Nigerians must be freed from the shackles of oppression, poverty, penury and squalour.
“It was this conviction that Nigerian masses should be freed from their oppressors and that the destiny of the whole nation should not be held ransom by a cabal that propelled him to stand by his mandate and to defend it to the last.
“The democracy that we all are enjoying now was made possible by the likes of Chief Abiola, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Chief Frank Kokori, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and others too numerous to mention.
“This is why we must not allow any circumstance to wipe out the memory of June 12, the day that Nigerians, irrespective of their ethnic or religious affiliations, decided to take their destinies in their own hands by voting overwhelmingly for a man after their heart,’’ he said.
Governor Ajimobi prayed for the repose of Abiola’s soul and the souls of other unknown Nigerians who lost their lives in the struggle to actualize the annulled presidential election.
According to him, the only way to ensure that their sacrifice is not in vain is to promote and institutionalize good governance until poverty, injustice and insecurity are significantly reduced in Nigeria.
The governor said that Chief Abiola’s ideal of good governance had always influenced his government in its avowed commitment to the massive, pro-people infrastructural development of Oyo State.
“This ideal of good governance that is centred on development remains the driving force of our administration. We fervently believe that this is what he would have wished for. That is why we would continue to follow in that path in order to keep his memory alive,” he said.