Suddenly, everybody has become an advocate or champion of June 12. June 12, 1993 was the day that majority of Nigerians allegedly voted for Chief MKO Abiola to be their President. The election was however annulled by the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida.
Even those who had held IBB by the jugular and insisted that he must never declare Abiola President or else they would kill him, and those who later deserted Abiola and embraced Abacha who jailed Abiola, have now become the apostles and arch promoters of June 12.
Look at Babagana Kingibe. He was Abiola’s running mate in that election, in which case he would have carried the same cross with Abiola. But what happened? At the thick of the crisis, when Abiola was jailed by Sani Abacha for declaring himself President, Kingibe abandoned Abiola and his June 12. He then teamed up with Abacha to ensure that there was no more mention about June 12.
Kingibe was subsequently rewarded with the juicy position of Internal Affairs Minister in order to ensure that all internal insurrections, including those who might be agitating for the actualization of June 12, were promptly dealt with. Latter, Abacha made Kingibe his Foreign Affairs Minister to sell his policies to the outside world and to disabuse in their minds anything about June 12.
Today, we are told to begin to celebrate Babagana Kingibe as a champion of June 12, while he is being conferred with the second highest honour in the land, the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON)!
Look at Muhammadu Buhari. In 1984, shortly after assuming office as military head of state, Buhari confiscated ship loads of newsprints which Abiola imported for chains of his publications, and distributed them free to government owned newspapers. Aim was not only to cripple Abiola financially, but also to prevent his publications from attacking the new military administration.
Buhari was a close ally of General Sani Abacha who jailed Abiola. It was Abacha that heralded Buhari’s first coming in 1983. Shortly after Abacha took over as military head of state in 1993, he appointed Buhari, chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF).
As Chairman of PTF, Buhari always had Abacha’s ear 24/7, because it was from the PTF that Abacha allegedly stole all the money which he stashed into the various banks in Europe. As an anti-corruption crusader, Buhari never bathed an eyelid while his friend, Abacha, milked the country dry.
One would ask whether Buhari was deaf and dumb since 1994 when Abiola was in jail on the authority of General Sani Abacha, till 1998 when Abiola later died in prison as to have chipped in some few words to his friend General Sani Abacha. for the release of his now new idol, Chief MKO Abiola?
Then what happened after Buhari became President? Buhari who kept mute while his bosom friend, General Sani Abacha held Abiola in prison, and who never for once mentioned anything Abiola and his June 12 has now decided to confer on Abiola with the highest honour in the land, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR). What a hypocrisy!
Buhari had celebrated Democracy Day on May 29 for three consecutive years and he never remembered anything like June 12. He had also on May 29, 2018, with pomp peagently, celebrated this year’s Democracy Day. He had made a broadcast to the nation, where he told us that those selling generating sets are now having bad market, because he is giving us electricity 24 hours everyday. Wonderful!
Then six days later, specifically on June 3, 2018, Buhari suddenly woke up from slumber and remembered that there could be June 12 which should be celebrated as new Democracy Day!
For us, June 12 as declared by Buhari as new Democracy Day is merely an after thought. It is simply a political gimmick aimed at capturing the votes of the South West in 2019. He is simply tying his success in next year’s election on Tinibu and his co-travellers in the South West and believes that once he was able to win their hearts, his victory would be assured. Jonathan made the same mistake in 2015 when he began to dole out billions of dollars to the people of South West thinking that they would deliver him. But they failed him.
For Buhari and his co-travellers, we will simply keep our fingers crossed and wait for what will eventually happen.