Lagos Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode on Tuesday unveiled the new 37-feet MKO Abiola statue at Alapere area of the state in honour of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
The Governor also canvassed for restructuring of the nation that will lead to fiscal federalism and devolution of power.
The Governor spoke at two events in honour of Abiola. The first event was the June 12 Anniversary celebration at the Blue Roof, Lagos Television, Ikeja and the unveiling of the Abiola Statue held at Alapere area of Ketu.
Speaking at the June 12 anniversary, Ambode said the theme of the event,”Restructuring: Antidote for Ineffective and Ineffective Politics”, was apt, stressing that as a State and people, “our stand on a restructuring process that will lead to fiscal federalism, devolution of power is very clear.
“Our present democratic experience may still be far from ideal but we must all make concerted efforts to entrench fiscal federalism which is the only way to achieve true nationhood. We are absolutely convinced that it is the right way to go for us to realise the optimum potential and prosperity of the federating States and the nation.”
He said since the annulment of June 12, the struggle for its actualization had continued until Muhammadu Buhari, the President of Nigeria pronounced the day as Democracy Day and conferring posthumous award on Abiola, Gani Fawehinmi and others.
The Governor said by this singular act of the president, he had written his name in Gold in the political history of Nigeria, adding that this formal recognition is a crown of victory to the struggle that had taken the lives of so many nationalists and patriots.
The governor saluted leaders of the struggle, including Alani Akinrinade, Wole Soyinka, Walter Carrington, Justice Dolapo Akinsanya, Frank Kokori, Ndubuisi Kanu, Wale Oshun, Balarabe Musa and other Nigerians and Civil Society Organisations, trade and labour unions, among others.
Speaking at the unveiling of the Abiola statue, Ambode said he was particularly happy that Lagos State had a good reason to honour Abiola as a symbol of democracy, saying that exactly 25 years since he won a Presidential election but was refused to serve the people who gave him their mandate, the country finally and deservedly recognised him with the highest honour in the land – the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic.
“We are very happy to gather here today at the MKO Abiola garden to unveil this statue, a monument that will forever crystallize his legacy, serves as a reminder to the greatness that Abiola represents in our socio-political landscape As an individual, he transcended race, tribe and religion. He appealed to all Nigerians and we voted for him. Sadly, he lost his life trying to secure his mandate.
“Even though he was from another State, Lagos was his home. And we recognize his contribution to our State and our democracy. It is now my honour to unveil this statue as a monument to symbolize democracy and the supremacy of the voice of the people,” he said.