June 12 is a special day for Nigeria and considered by many as the true Democracy Day, unlike May 29 proposed by the administration of ex president Olusegun Obasanjo.
Twenty-three years ago Nigeria had its first democratic presidential election since the 1983 coup. The election has been won by Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola representing the Social Democratic Party. He secured 8,341,309 of votes, or 58.36% of total votes cast.
However, the development did not bring peace and stability to Nigeria. The election has been cancelled by the ex military ruler General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. The crisis ended with one more coup in the history of Nigeria that brought Sani Abacha into power on November 17, 1993.
Nigerians have started a trending hashtag #June12 on Twitter, expressed varying opinions, feelings and suggestions. Some prominent Nigerians have also joined the trend.
The former vice-president of Nigeria (1999-2007) Atiku Abubakar has joined the trend and sent a powerful message in the memory of late MKO Abiola:
“On #June12, 1993, Nigeria was united in one cause, to defeat tyranny through democracy. We all believed. After 23 years, #June12 still remains a shining light, a reminder of what is possible – a united Nigeria.
“The integrity of the #June12 electoral process also shows that we Nigerians can achieve great things, if we are united.
“For many of us who worked with Chief MKO Abiola, his death was painful, but it paved the way for enduring democracy. Our democracy today, is MKO Abiola’s legacy. But we must grow beyond just democracy – our country must work.
“We must reform our country – restructure our federation for peace, growth and prosperity. We must also fix our political system. We must embrace reforms, and base our democracy on equity and good governance, which helps every Nigerian feel safe and secure.
“#June12 was a victory for Nigeria. It was because we knew we could be better. We can actually achieve that dream if we all work together.”