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Error in Celebration of Democracy Day

abiola2MKO Abiola -

BY ADEMOLA ORUNBON - The 12th of June is marked with public holidays in Lagos, Osun, Oyo and Ogun states. The 1993 elections were the fairest and most credible elections Nigeria has ever had. The man under the limelight is Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, MKO, who is one of the martyrs of Nigeria's Democracy, a former business tycoon and a philanthropist. MKO Abiola was the undisputed winner of the 1993 elections. Abiola died under suspicious circumstance shortly after the death of General Sani Abacha. He died on the day he was due for release, July 7 1998. In order to appease the Westerners, Obasanjo was picked from prison as substitute and furnished with all the resources needed for campaign, endorsement rather, to emerge as the first President of the Fourth Republic. In place of MKO Abiola, we were given a more loyal western puppet, Obasanjo.

If we look critically, Abiola and Obasanjo had so many things in common and that probably must have informed the cabal's choice for Obasanjo after Abiola's death. Abiola and Obasanjo hail from Ogun State, they attended the same secondary school - Baptist Boys High School (BBHS) in Abeokuta, where Abiola was the editor-in-chief of their school Magazine (The Trumpeter) and Obasanjo was his assistant. Both men share almost the same circle of friends, they are considered legend in their own right and are being celebrated by the Yoruba nation. Abiola and Obasanjo are also polygamists, and frankly, they share a remarkable degree of resemblance. Both are philanthropists but one of them exhibits more philanthropy than the other, you can guess which. In any case, their generosity has earned them over 30 traditional titles each and multiple awards that they have lost count. Both men have been wrongly convicted and sent to prison for crimes they did not really commit.

On the other hand, Abiola proved to be more academically sound. He bagged first class honours degree in Accountancy from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He also received a distinction from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. Academically, not much is said about Obasanjo since he completed his Military school in Kaduna. Chief MKO Abiola had been a politician and an entrepreneur right from the sixties even up to his death, whereas Obasanjo was a military man cum politician/businessman.

Abiola was a Muslim though he was not keen about religiosity, but Obasanjo appears to be an 'ardent Christian'. Perhaps the most distinguishing politically ideological difference between the two was that Abiola was more of a socialist while Obasanjo was a capitalist. Abiola was sensitive to the yearnings of the masses and that brought him unwavering support from all the commoners within the federation, Obasanjo was brought in for the sake of democracy in 1999.

While I am not an adherent of ''Democracy day'' celebration (because I feel it should be encapsulated in the Independence Day), I believe the June 12 remembrance is more justifiable being the day Nigeria was denied the right to have a sane and more purposeful people-minded democracy. Obasanjo arbitrarily chose May 29 to be remembered as '' Democracy Day'' because he was the one who was handed the democracy baton. If he or Abdul Salami Abubakar had been a little more patient and waited 14 days longer, June 12 would have been our democracy day, and as such, it would have had more significance, thus avoiding the May 29 parody. 

Orunbon wrote from 17, Ajanosi Street, Oke-Posun, Epe, Lagos State. 

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