Nigeria celebrates MKO Abiola for his struggles to enthrone democracy with First Public Holiday


MKO Abiola

Nigerians are observing its first public holiday in honour of late Chief Moshood Abiola, publisher of defunct Concord Group of newspapers who lost his life in the struggle to reclaim his mandate after winning the June 12, 1993 elections but annulled by then Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida.

Ugly circumstances that followed led Babangida's forced exit by "stepping aside." 

He was succeeded in office by Chief Ernest Shonekan in an "Interim Government," that General Sani Abacha as the man behind the throne.

Shonekan was later forced out by Gen Abacha after some months of political instability in the country. 

Abiola was arrested and thrown into jail for demanding the his mandate be restored.

He was first declared wanted after announcing declaring himself president that later came to be known as "Epetedo Declaration."

Business mogul, Chief Arthur Nzeribe formed the group that sued the Federal Government then, the electoral body led by Prof Humphrey Nwosu who was stopped half- way from announcing the results of the election 27 years ago. He later died in prison during Abacha's draconian regime after his wife, Kudirat Abiola had earlier been assassinated by people suspected to be officials of the regime. 

Former administrations celebrated their democracy days on May 29, being the date that democracy was finally restored in the country on May 29, 1999 until last year - 2019, when President Muhammadu Buhari's administration changed the narrative, hence this is therefore the first June 12 Democracy Day in the country.