Dele Alake, the former Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Lagos State has revealed how the struggle to make June 12 Democracy Day in Nigeria started.
The former Commissioner stated this while speaking at the Lagos State Democracy Day Youth Webinar, on Friday.
Alake stated that after Moshood Abiola was denied as the winner of the June 12, 1993 election, strategy meetings were held on the next line of action.
He noted that a meeting was held in 1999 between the former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu and four others involved in the June 12 struggle.
The meeting was held to agitate for an official declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day.
He said, “What we celebrate today, the June 12. We had a meeting, myself, himself, Rauf Aregbesola and two others deliberated that it was the right thing to do was to make June 12 Democracy Day. Those of us at that meeting were all involved in the actualisation of June 12.”
“When Asiwaju was sworn in on May 29, Saturday and resumed on Monday, a few of us were with him again. We sat down and deliberated. His very first action was to go to the press centre named after the previous military administrator, Ibrahim Abacha.”
“I wrote the speech he read there. He renamed the press centre the same day.”
“I’m recalling all these things to enunciate the role of the leaders past and present to underscore the importance that today has, not just for us that took part.”
He commended people who play part in the fight for democracy in Nigeria, Alake noted that the role of the media was helpful.
Alake added, “I will wish to make my own honest tribute to those I consider to be the real hero of June 12. Those dead and those still alive. I recall the supreme sacrifice paid by the winner of the election, the symbol of today, my late benefactor.”
“Without the active involvement of the media then, who naturally and inexhaustibly, moved to become the parliament of the people, it would not have been possible during the military era.”
“I pay tribute to the leader of the media in that era, among whom some also paid the supreme sacrifice”
“I also pay my tribute to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who also played a prominent role in and out of Nigeria. Who was also the sustaining force of the media then. And even the same when he came back to the country.”
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018 conferred a posthumous award on Chief M.K.O Abiola as the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, GCFR.