Soyinka, Agbakoba, others to be honoured by June 12 Movement

Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, Human rights activist, Olisa Agbakoba and the senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani among others will on Tuesday be honoured as heroes and heroines of democracy as part of the activities lined up to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the annulment of the June 12 Democracy Day.

A statement issued on Monday by the Chairman of the 2018 Organising Committee, Anthony Kila, noted that the event billed for the MKO Abiola Democracy House in Lagos is organized by the June 12 Movement of Nigeria in conjunction with the Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM) to recognise and honour notable Nigerians who played key roles during the struggle for the restoration the June 12mandate.

Also to be honoured are; former  President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSON), Frank Kokori; human rights lawyer, Femi Falana; public intellectual, Pat Utomi;  former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Atahiru Jega; Director General of NIM, Olawale Okunniyi and the Are Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, Gani Adams.

Others to be honoured  are;  Afenifere chieftain, Ayo Adebanjo;  former Chief of Army Staff, Alani Akinrinade; civil society icon, Ayo Obe,  Osagie Obayuwana and Dipo Fashina. Others such as; Femi Aborishade, Fredrick Faseun, Odion Sylvester Akhaine, Comrade Aremu Abiodun, Omoyele Sowore, Ebun Adegboruwa and Glory Kilanko are the among 25 other pro -democracy activists already listed for popular recognition at the celebration.

These heroes and heroines will be conferred with the honours at a Special Presidential Roundtable. This Special Roundtable session has also been designed to host leading presidential aspirants contesting in the 2019 elections in Nigeria. The event is also expected to bring Leaders of the Nigerian civil society, and front line political activists in Nigeria into a robust interface.

The commemorative National Presidential Dialogue is geared towards initiating and setting a cohesive agenda for a ballot based – PVC Revolution of the Movement during the forthcoming elections scheduled to hold in February 2019, the statement added.

“As it is accustomed with the organisers in an election year, the raison d’être for this Presidential Roundtable themed ” 2019: Towards a formidable and Cohesive electoral intervention for a new Nigeria”, is to create a platform for profound understanding among contending aspirants in the 2019 general elections towards ensuring that the Nigerian people and electorate get the very best for a ballot based – PVC driven Revolution to be effected for a new Nigeria to emerge in 2019,” the statement said.

Representatives of the martyrs of Nigerian Pro -Democracy struggles such as the families of Anthony Enahoro, Adekunle Ajasin, Abraham Adesanya, Alfred Rewane, Gani Fawehinmi, Beko Ransome Kuti, Ola Oni, Baba Omojola, Chima Ubani , Bamidele Aturu, Olaitan Oyerinde, among others are expected to grace this ceremony.

The highpoint will be a major interlude to pray for Nigeria, while honouring the immortal memory of the supreme sacrifice paid by all the martyrs of Nigerian current democracy, including MKO Abiola of blessed memory, the statement added.

The Presidential Dialogue fashioned after MKO Abiola Hope ’93 campaign will also witness the naming of MKO Abiola Residence as “Nigeria Democracy House” an event, which will have Abduljalil Tafawa Balewa, the son of Nigeria’s Former Prime Minister, who is also a former presidential aspirant as Keynote Speaker, Convener of June 12 Movement of Nigeria, Veteran Olawale Okunniyi as moderator under the chairmanship of legal icon and human rights advocate, Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) Chair of NIM.

The June 12 celebration is observed every year in remembrance of Nigeria’s Presidential election held on Saturday June 12, 1993, when Nigerians voters irrespective of ethnic and religious backgrounds went to the polls and voted for Moshood Kashiwawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) as president in what is considered the freest and fairest election in the history of Nigeria.

However, the nation was shocked when the then ruling junta led by Military President Ibrahim Babangida, inexplicable annulled the election on June 23, sending a wave of protests across the nation.

The acclaimed winner of the presidential election, MKO Abiola was eventually plunged into detention by the succeeding military regime of the late Sani Abacha, after he made spirited effort to claim his mandate. Abiola eventually died in jail in 1998.

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