June 12, 1993: The Annulled Hope of the Common Man
In the history of Nigeria till date, the freest and fairest election according to history was conducted on this day, June 12, 1993.
The whole nation trooped down in their hundreds and thousands to cast their vote for their ideal candidates, although the election was rendered inconclusive due to the annulment. Nevertheless, the Hope ’93; Farewell to Poverty was the song everyone chewed.
From Abeokuta, Ogun State to Epetedo, Lagos state to Onitsha, Bauchi, Anambra, Ibadan, Kano, Sokoto even down to Bashir Tofa’s hometown; the rainbow that adorned the sky was M.K.O Abiola’s gospel of free education, better healthcare system, freedom of expression amongst others.
The excitement of Nigerians would later become a thing of shock when the then military government led by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida annulled the election.
This singular act ushered our beloved country into a cacophony of sorrow.
Later, that same year was power taken over by another military government led by Gen. Sanni Abacha who threw the common man’s Hope into confinement for four years with just a Bible, a Qur’an and 14 soldiers because of the proclamation in Epetedo, Lagos State where Abiola declared himself president.
Although, May 29 was the day the military officially handed over power but it is evident that the spirit behind June 12 can never be underestimated, it shows the real struggles for democracy. It shows the sincerity of our leaders to build a better nation, it shows mental awareness created.
We should remember today and every other day the line of our national anthem,
“…the labour of our leaders past shall never be in vain”.
We should remember all those that lay their lives down for the democracy we tread upon. We should remember the bloods and sweats of comrades that looked tyranny in the face and claimed for us democracy.
We should remember today as the day our nation opened its eyes to Hope.
ODEBODE, KARIMOT OLABISI