WHY NIGERIA WON'T HONOUR ABIOLA - ODUMAKIN
Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, former Ogun State governor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba and Secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Gas Union (NUPENG), Frank Kokori among other notable pro-democracy activists were conspicuously absent yesterday during the June 12 Democracy Walk and Rally in Abeokuta.
Soyinka, Osoba and Kokori were billed to address hundreds of people, who assembled at the MKO Abiola International Stadium during the celebration of the 18th anniversary of the historic June 12, 1993 election.
Many people, who thronged the stadium to listen to the trio, expressed disappointment that the renowned pro-democracy activists did not honour the state government's invitation.
Earlier, the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Funsho, his deputy, Prince Segun Adesegun and others had trekked through major streets of Abeokuta, the state capital.
Amosun, who led the team took off from the palace of the Alake of Egbaland and moved through Sapon, Itoku, Oja-Agbo (the family house of Abiola), Ago-Ika, Totoro, Ita-Eko to Oke-Ilewo and finally arrived the stadium, the venue of the event.
During the rally, notable pro-democracy activists who included the gubernatorial candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Ogbeni Lanre Banjo, Yinka Odumakin, Biodun Aremu, lamented the annulment of the election which they still described as the freest and fairest in the country.
Odumakin, while addressing the scanty crowd, explained why Nigeria would not accord the deserved honour to the late winner of the June 12, 1993 election.
Odumakin, who is also the Secretary of the Afenifere Renewal Group, lamented that those in positions of authority were those who annulled the historic election of June 12, 1993 and were controlling the country.
'In the past 18 years, we have called for the immortalization of Abiola, but it seems it is a wrong call because those who annulled the June 12, 1993 elections are still the ones controlling the destiny of this country today.
He adds: 'They will not honour the man that challenged their impunity, they will not honour the man who shed his blood for the unity of the entity called Nigeria''.
He urged the state government to pioneer other state governments in
the Southwest by building an MKO Abiola Centre like the Martins Luther
King Centre in Atlanta Georgia.
This kind of a centre according to him would house everything about Abiola, ''because eighteen years after, there are many Nigerians who knew little about the martyr of democracy in Nigeria''.
According to him, ''We must honour MKO; in honouring him, we are honouring ourselves. If we desist to accord honour to those who have given their lives for the unity of Nigeria, then we are saying, when we go, we are telling others not to remember what we have done''.