The former Governor of Ogun State and Director General of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organization, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has stated that the joint sacrifices of late Chief M.K.O. Abiola and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in 1993 metamorphosed into the current stable democracy Nigeria enjoys.
Otunba Daniel made this assertion while delivering the keynote address at the City People Magazine’s 22nd anniversary lecture in Lagos on Sunday, tagged: “Nigeria: the bumpy road to 2019.”
While chronicling the journey of Nigeria from the pre and post colonial era, the former governor stated that the episode of the annulled June 12 election in 1993 ushered in the return to civilian rule in 1999 as the military realized that the only way to console Nigerians and bring back the confidence in the federation after the uprising that emanated from the June 12 annulment was to return power to the people.
He said: “We cannot talk about the June 12 election and the mandate of late Chief MKO Abiola without talking about the role Atiku Abubakar played in achieving that mandate. It is on record that for the first time in the history of Nigeria’s democracy, a contending aspirant of Northern extraction at that level and time, decided to step down, not for a fellow Northerner but for a Southerner to actualize a collective dream of a better Nigeria.
“The overwhelming strength of that singular event produced a chain of events which brought us back to democracy in 1999. The ghost of June 12 was unyielding until it found full expression in the return to Democracy six years later. The resolve and the power of that cycle of events launched Nigeria into a prosperous and lively people cohabiting together, gradually yielding towards the near Utopia- the ideal state or nation.”
Speaking on the candidacy of Abubakar for the 2019 presidential election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, Otunba Daniel reiterated the need to achieve unity for Nigeria as that is the only way to development.
He said: “That spirit of one Nigeria in 1993 which is blind to ethnicity or religion is what we should aim to achieve in 2019, it is what Atiku Abubakar represents.”