To mark the 30th anniversary of the June 12 election annulment, a coalition of 121 Pan Yoruba Groups, the Alliance of Yoruba Democratic Movements (AYDM), has honoured the President, Bola Tinubu.
Other people the group awarded were the governors of Lagos and Ekiti, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and Abiodun Oyebanji, respectively.
A former governor of Ekiti, Dr Kayode Fayemi and a chieftain of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Ayo Opadokun, were on the list.
In his speech titled “Advancing Democracy in Nigeria: The Imperatives of Unity, Peace and Understanding,” Sanwo-Olu described June 12 as a “watershed and a turning point in the political history of Nigeria”.
Represented by his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, the governor recalled that the military resisted the struggle for the de-annulment of that election won by the late Abiola.
“Today, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of that historic election in the annals of our country, it is proper and necessary to pay glowing tribute to the memories of the symbol of that struggle,” he noted.
The governor commended Abiola and his wife, the late Kudirat Abiola and those who sacrificed their lives, including those Nigerians who were killed on Ikorodu Road in Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu also lauded those who lent their voices and energy to the struggle for democracy while recalling that Tinubu was one of the foremost leaders of the struggle.
“In the victory of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima at the polls, Nigerians reignited the spirit of June 12 and the hope that it signifies by deemphasising the divisive issues of ethnicity and religion in leadership recruitment,” he said.
The governor urged Nigerians to guard democracy, assuring them that “as a major player in the journey to enthroning an enduring democracy, the rule of law and social justice, President Tinubu will do his best to fulfil his promises to all Nigerians”.
On his part, the Guest Speaker, Mr Adewale Adeoye, said the annulment of the June 12 presidential election resulted from the power struggle in Nigeria.
Adeoye lamented the death of innocent Nigerians who did not support the military rule.
He, therefore, warned young people to desist from calling for a military takeover. “Let us tell our younger ones who are calling for military rule out of ignorance that under military rule, Nigerians were never part of the budget process.
“We could not question the horrendous financial crimes committed by the military administrators. Free speech was an aberration. Newspaper houses were shut. Journalists were detained or killed,” Adeoye lamented.
He warned against a military rule. “This is why one of the primary focal points of AYDM is mandate protection.
“The worst version of democratic rule is far better than the most benevolent military dictatorship,” he emphasised. “Democracy is a work in progress.”
Meanwhile, the group gave posthumous awards to notable names like Alfred Rewane, Anthony Enahoro, Abraham Adesanya, Beko Ransome Kuti, Adekunle Ajasin and Chima Ubani, among others.