The son of the late Chief Moshood Abiola, Jamiu, has hailed the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to declare June 12 as ‘Democracy Day’.
He said: “Making June 12 Democracy Day was the right step in the right direction. Others will now be motivated to be more patriotic, bearing in mind that they now live in a Nigeria that recognises its heroes.”
Jamiu, third child of the late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola and Shettima Rasheed of Borno, also hailed the decision to delcare her mother as “martyr of democracy”.
He told reporters in Lagos that Kudirat paid the supreme price, lamenting that her murder was traded away for money.
Noting that ‘June 12’ meant different things to different people, Jamiu said both President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made it a landmark date to serve as an inspiration for selfless service.
He added: “But, selfish and self-centred leaders saw and continue to see the date as a threat. They fought to erase it from the memory of Nigerians. But, thanks to President Buhari, they have now failed woefully.”
Paying tribute to her mother, Jamiu said: “Her political legacies can be best understood by her strong opposition to tribalism and greed. While we were gowing up, she taught us more Hausa songs than Yoruba songs and most of her friends were from other regions other than the Southwest.
“She believed that the unity of this country was sacrosanct and she never held the North responsible for the travails of my father. To her, his ordeal was caused by a handful of elites from different ethnic groups.
“She also despised greed which was why she blatantly turned down various lucrative overtures to trade away her support for my father. It was at that point that her enemies decided to end her life.”
Jamiu also said the death of her mother exposed her children to tribulations.
He stressed: “Life has not been easy at all after her assassination. The mere fact that, according to various sources they used her murder as a tool to coerce the main culprit, Mohamed Abacha, to return funds looted from Nigeria in exchange for his freedom and that of his driver was another devastating blow, following the tragedy of her murder itself.
“However, we continue to thank God for enabling us, her children, to endure this double tragedy. My mother lived a good life and died for a worthy cause. May her soul rest in peace.”
Jamiu urged Nigerians to reflect on June 12 and used the anniversary to rededicate themselves to the unity of Nigeria.
Describing the historic poll as a reference point, he urged Nigerians to clamour for electoral reforms that will strengthen democracy.
Jamiu said since democracy is the best system of government, it should be protected and defended by Nigerians.
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