President Bola Tinubu

June 12: Pan Yorùbá groups honour Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu, Fayemi, Oyebanji, others

President Bola Tinubu on Monday received a rare honour from Alliance for Yorùbá Democratic Movements (AYDM), a coalition of 121 Pan-Yoruba coalition spread across the South-West states, including Edo, Delta, Kogi and Kwara states. The gathering in Lagos was attended by over 1500 people drawn from the South-West states and Yoruba groups in the West Coast, northern and southern Nigeria.
Also honoured were governors Abiodun Oyebanji of Èkìtì State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos and former governor of Èkìtì State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi. A chieftain of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Ayo Opadokun and Chairman, Supreme Egbesu Assembly, Comrade Winiprefa Digifa were also honoured. In the post-humous category, awards were given to Pa Alfred Rewane, and Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti. The leadership awards were given in recognition of their contributions to the June 12 struggle and sustainable democratic development in Nigeria’s efforts to strengthen democratic culture.

The event organised in Lagos by the AYDM was with the theme June 12: 30 Years After June 12: The Strategy for Sustainable Democratic Development in Nigeria. Leaders of ethnic, religious and cultural groups from the North, South-East and South-South also attended as observers. The AYDM said it would be holding a strategic session in the second day of the summit to focus on mandate protection in collaboration with other groups from across the country.

President Tinubu received the Distinguished Award for Hard Work, Diligence and Resilience for democracy; Sanwo-Olu received Distinguished Award for Governance and Sustainable Development in Yorùbáland; Oyebanji received the Distinguished Leadership Award for Tolerance and Grassroots Democracy; Fayemi for Integrity, Regional Integration and Sustainable Development in the South-West. Pa Opadokun was given the Distinguished Award for Sacrifice for Humanity, Honour and Integrity while Digifa Received the Distinguished Award for Partnership, Peace and Conflict Prevention in Southern Nigeria.

Speaking at the occasion, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo Olu represented by his Deputy, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamsat said the awards were timely. He said the awards indicated the spirit of solidarity, trust, and grassroots support needed for democracy to thrive. Hamsat received the awards on behalf of President Tinubu and Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

He said the June 12 celebration this year was significant in the sense that one of the iconic figures of the June 12 struggle is currently the President of Nigeria. He said those calling for military rule appears to have little understanding of the importance of democracy, adding that the overwhelming population of Nigerians have chosen democracy as the best form of government in line with global best practices.
A chieftain of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Chief Ayo Opadokun said the new President ought to meet the aspirations of Nigerians. He said since 1999, the Yoruba have produced one President, Olusegun Obasanjo, who unfortunately failed Nigerians. Present were artisan groups, Oodua Nationalist Coalition (ONAC), Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Network for Yorùbá Alliance (NEYA), Nigerian Automobile Technicians Association (NATA), ANACOWA, representing Okada riders in the South-West, Association of Bricklayers, South-West Hunters Union, Vigilante groups, Okun Yoruba Development Network, Kwara State Progressive Movement (KSPM), Yorùbá Union of Ivory Coast (YUIC) among many others.
The Guest Speaker, Mr Adewale Adeoye said the annulment of the June 12 election was the consequence of the power struggle in Nigeria, both political, economic and also ethnic.

On June 12, he said ‘’We cannot forget the people that were killed, detained or missing. We remember heroes like Pa Alfred Rewane and Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, who were brutally murdered. We also realise that hundreds of poor, unseeded people were killed on the streets of Lagos and the entire South-West. I recall a gory incident on July 07, 1994, when some 30 people were killed in cold blood during a rally organised by the Campaign for Democracy (CD) and other pro-democracy movements.”
He urged the South-West states to strengthen regional integration and solidarity in pursuing the common good. He added “Lagos should open up new frontiers of cooperation with Benin, Togo and Ghana. Sokoto State collaborates with Niger Republic in many areas while Bornu State has many areas of collaboration with Chad and Cameroon. More importantly, the neighbouring countries around Lagos have Yoruba indigenous people.

He said In Ivory Coast alone, as at 1998, there were some 3.5m Yoruba people resident in that country. ‘’If there is a rail between Nigeria and Niger Republic, there is nothing wrong with a rail from Lagos to Ivory Coast. Lagos needs to work out collaboration with Delta State which is just two hours by water transportation from Epe. This will create jobs and promote trade and investments across the old Western Region.’’