This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: June 12 - Where are the Heroes?

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As usual, today the civil society groups will march in commemoration of the 16th anniversary of the fairest and freest poll.

But Ironically, politicians and almost all the people who benefitted in one way or the other from the sacrifice and bravery of Abiola in his struggle for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria had totally forgotten the struggle and sacrifices made by Abiola and others who struggled to bring the present dispensation into reality. The reminiscence over Abiola's struggle and death has been completely overshadowed and since ignored.

Apart from Abiola other heroes and heroines of the June 12 struggle are:

Kudirat Atinuke Abiola

Late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola was one of the wives of Late Moshood Abiola , the winner of the June 12,1993 Presidential election. She was born in 1951, in Zaria , where she also had her early education. Testimonies of her times at Muslim Girls High School, Ijebu Ode, indicate the evolution of a powerful mind that married the qualities of hard work with the diligence of an achiever.

However, the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which her husband had won, forced Kudirat into the pro-democracy movement with eminent nationalists like Chief Anthony Enahoro braving military bullets. When her husband was incarcerated and kept in solitary confinement for claiming his presidential mandate, Kudirat stepped forward and confronted the military dictators , convinced that the military's actions amounted to a violation of the fundamental right of Nigerians to elect their government.

Her leadership motivated other pro democracy groups to spring up and pressed for the actualization of the popular presidential election. Particularly, in 1994 during the heat of the struggle, Kudirat was actively involved in sustaining the oil workers strike which succeeded in crippling the nation's socio-economic sector and weakened the military government

Kudirat gave interviews on several occasions to the foreign and Nigerian press in which she called for her husband's release and accused the government of destroying her family financially. On May 8, 1996. the Lagos High Court acquitted her of charges of conspiracy and making false statements. She was charged again with these offences on May 28, 1996 and the Lagos High Court ordered her release on bail . Despite this harassment, she continued her outspoken campaign on behalf of her husband.

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