A gala night commemorating Nigeria’s first nationally observed June 12 Democracy Day held at the Aso Villa Banquet Hall on Tuesday, with President Muhammadu Buhari hosting some foreign leaders, along with Nigerian political leaders.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gave the toast at the event, which was also attended by President of Namibia Hage Geingob, President of Liberia, George Weah and politicians such as the APC National leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Aisha, wife of the President and Dolapo, wife of the Vice President were also at the occasion. Photos by Novo Isioro.
June 12 commemorates Nigeria’s first freest and fairest election in 1993, won by Chief MKO Abiola.
However, the election was annulled by the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida.
The annulment unleashed a political struggle, in which the media and the opposition political class were the targets of repression by the Abacha administration.
Many Nigerians were jailed and many fled into exile, until 1998 when Abacha’s successor, Abdulsalami Abubakar began another round of democratisation that has endured for 20 years, since May 1999.
In a move that was hugely unanticipated last year, President Buhari declared June 12 a public holiday and gave a posthumous honour of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic to MKO Abiola. The award is the highest in Nigeria, the same that Abiola would have received if his election had not been annulled by the Babangida junta.