Nigerians have never had it good. They have never had it so real and unassuming, but alas, on this day June 12, 1993, they shocked themselves in oneness as they all came out en-mass in one voice regardless of ethno-religious sentiments. It was a day that the most populous black nation shocked the global community both with a sacred heart kindness and a perfect blend of rare pristine civility. June 12 as it were, brought to the front-burner the hormonal coordination of a nation once known as the pride of Africa.
Behold, it was June 12, 1993 election D-Day. Many Nigerians had barely taken their shower; others had barely eaten, while some others gallantly endured the pain that comes along with an empty stomach as they took solace in the obvious euphoria of the moment, knowing same will bring good tiding afterwards. It was a day that knew no religion, it was a day that knew no tribe, and it was a day that knew no sentiments as Nigerians trouped out in good spirit wrapped in obvious unity towards exercising their franchise in one piece.
The aged, the elderly and the young were determined to deciding who govern them through the power of the ballot as they painstakingly resolved to endure either the scorching sun or the torrential rain they may face on the field on account on who becomes their president. It was a resolution that brought to the forbearance the divining supremacy of a nation whose beleaguered history with military rule knows no bound. To a majority, it was a foundation of the country’s democratic setting and they were prepared to make it a reality.
From activist to students unions down to the regular Nigerian citizen, all was set for an epoch making events that many believe will inadvertently turn the fortune of a Nation into a charismatic candor of gloom and boom worthy of emulation thereafter. But behold, event took a negative nose dive to the consternation of many as not even the international community was spared in this horrendous and torrential shock not even the greatest fortune teller of all time could ever imagined.
According to historical fact and first hand June 12 observers, it was one news that drenched the “Nigerianess” out from the people as the whole country got thrown into political uncertainty and turmoil just within the spate of 24-hrs en-route announcing the winner of the freest, fairest, and credible elections ever witnessed in the Nigerian political and historical mileage.
Regardless of the clean sheet of the June 12 election, the then military head of state who initially agreed to have a democratically conducted general election against all odds decided to throw in spanner in the works of event. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) with the aid of the rag-tag military through the barrels of a gun and her jackboot components brazenly disregarded the Nigerian electorates as he annulled the election thereby dashing the hopes of millions around the world.
A move that birthed the formation of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) movement whose only goal was to join hands with various human rights activists alongside the fourth estate of the realm towards reclaiming a stolen mandate validly won by Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO) of the social democratic party with an overwhelming total majority percentage of 58.36% clinching 20 states out of the 30 recorded.
While Nigerians rallied around the winner of the election, an interim government headed by Chief Ernest Shoneken was installed which however didn’t last for too long before he was dramatically bundled out by Gen. Sani Abacha who came into the picture with a gun handy ready to shoot at sight. This was how the story begins as a once promising nation was again snowballing into the dark age of military rule prior to June 12 1993.
It was at this point on June 11 1994 that Chief MKO Abiola against all odds dared the ordinances of the evil gods as he gallantly went on to declare himself a presidential status in what is today known as the famous Epetedo speech in Lagos Nigeria. In that speech, he voiced out his emotions while sounding categorically that the die has been cast hence the needful.
“How much longer can we tolerate all this? People of Nigeria, you are all witnesses that I have tried to climb the highest mountain, cross the deepest river and walk the longest mile, in order to get these men to obey the will of our people.
There is no humiliation I have not endured, no snare that has not been put in my path, no ‘setup’ that has not been designed for me in my endeavour to use the path of peace to enforce the mandate that you bestowed on me one year ago.
It has been a long night. But the dawn is here.
Today, people of Nigeria, I join you all in saying, Enough is enough"
Indeed, this was the speech that led to a journey of no return for the winner of the freest and fairest election which brought Nigerians out in their numbers regardless of affiliations. Gen. Sani Abacha immediately rolled out his sleeves as he set upon the treacherous path towards silencing MKO Abiola within the confines of the dungeon. Sadly Abiola died in prison on July 7th 1998 after four tumultuous years of perseverance in the slammer.
June 12 as it were remains the foundational fulcrum of Nigeria growing democratic concord. Given her basic and anti-diuretic role it played in galvanizing the Nation’s varied constituents into a unit. There is no gain saying that the ritualistic exercise of June 12 1993 election brought dominance to the forebear of what democracy really meant for a Nation whose socio-cultural cum political antecedents prior to June 12 can only be likened to a dystopia.
It eminence in the Nigeria political diary cannot be downplayed neither can it be unreasonably shoved into the raw shelf of historical oblivion. It was a day that once lived, still living and will forever live. Little wonder it was immensely greeted with both pomp and style when it was formally enacted as the nation’s new Democracy day which previously has been celebrated every May 29th. June 12 categorically explained the sordid philandering of the Nation’s chequered democratic templates.
Twenty six years after, the five billion dollar question has been finally been put to rest thus; June 12 1993, has it finally gained her rightful place? But then again, this one billion dollar question remains “What lesson have we learnt from June 12 story?”
The historical wedge balance that gives credence to the apotheosis of June 12 1993 events remains one cornerstone that gives Supreme Divinity to a Nation once known for her rich historical and Nationalistic past.
Link To Article: https://youth-journal.org/june-12-a-kind-reward-worth-a-democracy-day-achieved