June 12: Tinubu praises Abiola, urges Nigerians to be patient on subsidy removal



President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has described the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola (MKO), the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election as Nigeria’s symbol of democracy.

The President said Abiola sacrificed his life for Nigeria’s democracy even when he had a choice to forgo the justice of his cause.

Abiola who was the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 1993 presidential election died five years after his election was annulled by the then Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida.

In his Democracy Day National Broadcast on June 12, 2023, Tinubu said Abiola sacrificed his life for Nigeria’s democracy even when he had a choice to forgo the justice of his cause.

“We can easily recall the sacrifice and martyrdom of Chief MKO Abiola, the custodian of the sacred mandate that was so cruelly annulled.

“He sacrificed his life in unyielding, patriotic defense of the ideals of democracy as symbolized in his choice, by his fellow countrymen and women, as their duly-elected President.

“There was an easier choice for him. It was to forgo the justice of his cause and opt for the path of ease and capitulation in the face of the tyranny of power. To his eternal credit and immortal glory, Abiola said no. He demonstrated the time-tested eternal truth that there are certain ideals and principles that are far more valuable than life itself,” said the President.

Tinubu also urged Nigerians to bear with his administration as the removal of fuel subsidy bites hard on them.

The president said the decision to withdraw fuel subsidy was taken to “take resources away from the stranglehold of a few unpatriotic elements.”

The president assured Nigerians that their sacrifice would not be in vain, adding that his administration would reward and alleviate their suffering through investments in key sectors.

He said, “It is for this reason that, in my inauguration address on May 29, I gave effect to the decision taken by my predecessor-in-office to remove the fuel subsidy albatross and free up for collective use the much-needed resources, which had hitherto been pocketed by a few rich.

“I admit that the decision will impose extra burden on the masses of our people. I feel your pain. This is one decision we must bear to save our country from going under and take our resources away from the stranglehold of a few unpatriotic elements.

“Painfully, I have asked you, my compatriots, to sacrifice a little more for the survival of our country. For your trust and belief in us, I assure you that your sacrifice shall not be in vain.

“The government I lead will repay you through massive investment in transportation infrastructure, education, regular power supply, healthcare and other public utilities that will improve the quality of lives.

He emphasised that the democracy that Chief MKO Abiola died for was one that sought to promote the welfare of the people over the personal interests of the ruling class.

The president, therefore, reiterated his commitment to fulfilling every component of his electoral pact with the people, particularly the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda.

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