President Elect, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu will on June 12 this year be conferred with the honour of Distinguished Award for Courage as part of the activities to mark the 30th Anniversary of the June 12 election annulment.
Others listed for awards are the Governor of Kaduna State, Comrade Uba Sanni, Ekiti State Governor, Mr Abiodun Oyebanji, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo Olu and other front runners whose names will be announced soon. Listed is General Hassan Katsina. Unknown to many, he was one of those who worked quietly with humility for the actualisation of the June 12 election.
Also for post humous awards are Pa Alfred Rewane, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Pa Abraham Adesanya, Dr Beko Ransome Kuti, Pa Adekunle Ajasin and Comrade Chima Ubani among others.
In a statement in Lagos, Alliance of Yoruba Democratic Movements, (AYDM), a coalition of 121 community based and human rights groups in the old Western Nigeria, by far the largest Pan Yoruba coalition, said the award is in recognition of the role played by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Kaduna State Governor-elect, Shehu Sanni and others in the struggle for the actualisation of the June 12 election. The award also takes into consideration the key political figures who stand out in the consolidation of democracy.
The AYDM said since 1960, Nigeria has never produced a President from the rank and file of the radical pro-democracy movement until the February 2023 elections adding that past civilian Presidents of Nigeria haven been largely rookies of the military who imposed them on Nigerians making it difficult for the country to break the jinx of underdevelopment and godfatherism.
The group said the award will teach lessons to younger generation about the tough history of the country and those who stood firmly with the people at the most difficult times.
‘Some people elected today were never part of the campaign for democracy. In fact some of them opposed and worked against democracy.
They were hands in gloves with military dictatorship. We need to educated Nigerians on our history and the true heroes of democracy,’ a statement signed by Popoola Ajayi, Omohinmi Ehonwa and Chief Kunle Oshodi on behalf of AYDM said.
‘Tinubu, Shehu Sani, Dr Kayode Fayemi, Femi Falana, Wole Soyinka, Chima Ubani all risked their lives for a democratic country. They put in everything at the risk of their lives to resist tyranny and injustice.
They deserve to be celebrated’, AYDM said.
It noted that the 30th anniversary of the June 12 election coincided with the emergence of one of the arrowheads of the struggle, Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the next President of Nigeria.
The group said it is the first time in Nigerian history that a member of the pro-democracy family was emerging as the President of Nigeria.
The group described June 12 as a national struggle for justice, human rights and unity for a democratic and just society.
It noted that the heroes were not just people from the South West adding that many people from the North, including the Fulani and Hausa also participated in the historic campaign for a better and equitable Nigeria based on liberty and respect for the sanctity of votes.
‘People born 30 years ago are now fathers. Many may not actually realise the pains and anguish that Nigerians passed through and those that led the struggle for democracy of today.
These honours are partly to reawaken the consciousness of Nigerians, especially the younger generation on who their heroes were’ the AYDM said. The programme has been slated for Lagos on June 12.
About 2000 delegates are expected from across the county to attend the event.
Thousands of participants in the United States, North America and in Europe and Asia will also join on line to participate. Given the recent experience during the 2023 elections when efforts were made by some political interests to redefine the history of Nigeria, June 12 is once another iconic opportunity for Nigerians coming together to reassert their unity and oneness in response to the prevailing situation in Nigeria and to further celebrate the emergence of a President from the history of pro-democracy struggle.