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June 12: Tinubu, admirers and critics

June 12th marks 30th anniversary of the annulment of what is considered to be the free, fairest and most credible presidential election in Nigeria, the June 12, 1993 presidential election.  The election was hailed by late leader Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), but was canceled by the military government of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd). What made today's commemoration remarkable and different from the first is that one of the prominent figures in the struggle to replace Abiola as president is Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is sponsoring today's event.Since 1999, when Nigeria returned to democracy, none of the people who fought hard in the June 12 struggle had a chance to lead the country. But Tinubu, who is the chief financier and backbencher of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), an umbrella group for all pro-democracy groups fighting hard against the military regime to restore Nigeria's system of government to democracy. Tinubu was a senator during his short-lived third term and represented Lagos West under the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). He is a loyal member of NADECO, which includes different people in six geopolitical zones.

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In 1990, the president was forced into exile when the military regime of General Sani Abacha attacked all supporters of democracy.  Today's commemoration of June 12 is also special as Tinubu was the first to recognize and declare June 12 as a public holiday in Lagos when he was serving as the governor of the state.He is also part of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party, which led to President Muhammadu Buhari's declaration of June 12 as a public holiday in 2017. respect for Abiola after his death.This is unexpected because Nigerians, especially civil society groups and pro-democracy groups, have been aggressively demanding that June 12 be observed as the day democracy and the winner as a symbol in the country's struggle for representative government. But none of the first leaders heeded this call.Kokori said all eyes are on Tinubu, who was the first to bring the country back to the path of unity, trust and determination, which the presidential election of June 12, 1993 showed and the courage of the people The whole of Nigeria fought against him.He also said that Tinubu should bring back the hope, which Abiola promised to the Nigerian public, as he said that the incumbent president should speak out against the Nigerian electoral process.

It was June 12, Nigerians were united in their desire to end the military dictatorship and avoided all deliberate obstacles placed in their way. For the first time, Nigerians rejected the ideology of race and religion after Abiola defeated Bashir Tofa, a candidate for the Republican National Convention in his home state of Kano.thus laying the groundwork for building a united nation without undue influence on the political system. The abolition of Babangida, destroyed the foundation of this unity as the military that tried to support and support the abolition began to stir up conflict, pitting Nigerians against each other.

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“The uniqueness of today’s anniversary stands in the fact that Tinubu, one of the major actors of the June 12 struggle, is standing as the President to host this year’s event. Much is expected of him to actualise the tenets of June 12 and the ray of hope, which the late business mogul stood for.” - Frank Kokori former President of Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG)