June 12: A Convergence of True Democrats
By Hafsat Ibrahim
Governor Yahaya Bello has never hidden his profound affection for the MKO Abiola brand. He has in fact through his style of politics and governance tried as much as possible to emulate the late winner of the June 12, 1993 historic presidential election.
He also built his recent presidential bid around the legacy of the Late Basorun. And if that was not enough to get him the ticket of the ruling party this time, there are pointers to the possibility of it being enough to get him over the line in the future. These pointers are about the way and manner the Governor conducted himself throughout the campaign and primary election.
He managed to rally a lot of youth and women and the speech he made at the convention showed that his political future at the national level is very bright.
Back to his fascination with the MKO brand, he started by appointing one of the scions of the Abiola dynasty, Hafsat Abiola-Costello, as the Director General of his campaign. He also named his campaign slogan, Hope 2023. That of Abiola was Hope 93.
Abiola refused to give up his mandate in the face of incarceration and death threats. Bello refused to step down in the face of threats and pressure.
After the primaries which he lost gallantly and carved a niche for himself, the next time Bello had the opportunity to identify with and show love to his political mentor was during the last June 12 Democracy Day which was marked with pomp and pageantry in Abuja.
In the company of Hafsat, Governor Bello led various groups of Nigerian women to celebrate the day in grand style.
The governor said the event was held to keep the hope and vision of MKO alive, adding that he was excited that almost 30 years after that historic election, it has become the reference point of how elections should be conducted.
He told the crowd that he was inspired by the heroism of MKO to also throw his hat in the ring and seek the highest office in the land, adding that he was proud of everything he did at the just concluded presidential primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Bello said: “I was in secondary school in 1993 when the struggle began and almost 30 years after, we are here to bear the torchlight of that struggle and hence my decision, your decision, for Yahaya Bello to venture into the presidential race so that this hope can be rekindled.
“Today, we are commemorating and remembering June 12, championed by our father, our hero, our legend, our icon, Chief MKO Abiola, and Hajiya Kudirat Abiola.
“I appreciate God Almighty and all those who stood firm, saw a vision, sacrificed and are still sacrificing for the cause of democracy in Nigeria.
“I appreciate our President, Muhammadu Buhari, and his team who deemed it necessary that after 29 years, our father, Chief MKO Abiola, deserves to be decorated posthumously with the highest honour in the land, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).
“Chief MKO Abiola represents hope for this country for the current and future generations and that is why I am happy that his prodigies, not only his immediate family members but all of us, are carrying on with that struggle, and by the special grace of God, our struggles shall never be in vain.”
The governor, however, said that the emergence of the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as flagbearer of the party would further bring the vision of MKO to fruition.
To live well is to die well and to die well is to be remembered forever. MKO Abiola lived an exemplary life, died a hero and his name will always be worshipped till the end of time.