Kogi State governor Yahaya Bello and the director-general of his Presidential Campaign Organisation, Hafsat Abiola-Costello yesterday led various groups of Nigerian women to commemorate the June 12 Democracy Day in honour of late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola (MKO).
Bello, a leading presidential aspirant in the just concluded primaries under the All Progressives Congress (APC) said the event was held to keep the hope and visions of MKO alive.
He noted that he was excited that almost 30 years after, the vision of MKO Abiola continued to live, adding that this was one of the reasons he was determined to contest for President.
“Today, we are commemorating and remembering June 12, championed by our father, our hero, our legend, our icon, Chief MKO Abiola, and Hajiya Kudirat Abiola.
“I appreciate God almighty and all those who stood firm, saw a vision, sacrificed and are still sacrificing for the cause of democracy in Nigeria.
“I appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari and his team who deemed it necessary that after 29 years, our father, Chief MKO Abiola, deserves to be well honoured and decorated posthumously with the highest honour of the land, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).
“Chief MKO Abiola represents hope for this country for the current and future generations and that is why I am happy that his prodigies, not only immediate family but all of us are carrying on with that struggle, and by the special grace of God, our struggles shall never be in vain.
“I was in secondary school in 1993 when the struggle began and almost 30 years after, we are here to bear the torchlight of that struggle and hence my decision, your decision for Yahaya Bello to venture so that this hope can be rekindled,” Bello said.
Bello, however, noted that the emergence of the National leader of the Party, Bola Tinubu as flagbearer of the Party would further bring the vision of MKO Abiola to fruition.
The governor said that Tinubu was one of those who championed the struggles of June 12 and would not fail in rekindling those hopes and visions.
He urged women to give all their support and prayers to Tinubu so that he can emerge as President in the 2023 general elections.
“I am happy and comforted that the winner of that special convention, our leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, won the election, free and square, and that man is one of the pillars for the struggle of democracy. He was right behind Chief MKO Abiola in that struggle so you can see that our hope is still alive.
“So, I urge every one of us here to please give all of your support, prayers and whatever it will take for our leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu to win the general elections,” Bello added.
Abiola-Costello assured Nigerians and women that with Tinubu, a proponent of June 12, as Presidential candidate of the APC, and Bello, also well positioned in the campaigns and government, the dreams of MKO Abiola would be actualised.
“Twenty-nine years after June 12, it is still a message of hope. Yesterday we had the pleasure of being in the important meeting where His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello received presidential flagbearer, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu at our Campaign Secretariat.
“Based on the conversation, there is hope for Nigerian women, there is hope for Nigerian young people, Nigerians with special needs,” Abiola-Costello said.
President, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Mrs Ladi Bala described Bello as an icon and true representation of democracy.
She commended Bello for his policies and style of governance, especially on women’s inclusion, which she said no governor in Nigeria had demonstrated.