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Democracy Icons: Tinubu Recognises 33 Individuals, 7 Media Houses, Others

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In a nationwide address to the nation on the 25th anniversary of uninterrupted democracy in Nigeria, President Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, paid homage to the courageous individuals and media organizations who fought the military to enthrone democracy.

Tinubu, who addressed the nation from Abuja on Democracy Day, June 12, 2024, commended the resilience of Nigerians in the face of adversity, highlighting the sacrifices made by prominent figures and media outlets during the nation’s struggle for democracy.

He began by honouring the memory of Chief MKO Abiola, the iconic winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, alongside other pivotal figures such as General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Kudirat Abiola, who paid the ultimate price for democracy.

He said, “Today, we honour the heroes and heroines who sacrificed everything for the cause of democracy. Their legacy will forever be etched in the annals of Nigerian history.

“During the fateful six years that followed, we fought and struggled for our natural rights as human beings put on this earth by the divine hand of our Creator. We lost great heroes and heroines along the way.

“In this struggle, the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola, the most significant symbol of our democratic struggle, his wife, Kudirat, General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Pa Alfred Rewane, among others sacrificed their very lives.

“They bravely surrendered their futures, so that our nation might have a better one. Let us honour the memories of Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Commodore Dan Suleiman, Chief Arthur Nwankwo, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Chief Frank Kokori, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Ganiyu Dawodu, Chief Ayo Fasanmi, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Chief Olabiyi Durojaiye, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, Chima Ubani, and others who have transited to the higher realm.”

Furthermore, Tinubu acknowledged the contributions of individuals like Professor Wole Soyinka, Femi Falana, and Olisa Agbakoba, who endured exile and persecution to uphold democratic values.

He praised their unwavering commitment to the cause, stating that their sacrifices would never be forgotten.

The President also extended his gratitude to the Nigerian media, recognizing outlets such as The Punch, Guardian, and Tribune, for their role in championing free speech and civil liberties.

“We could not have won the battle against military dictatorship without the irrepressible Nigerian journalists who mounted the barricades along with the pro-democracy activists.

“We celebrate them today, along with their media establishments such as The Punch, Guardian, National Concord, Tribune, The News/Tempo, and TELL Magazines. Military authorities proscribed these media establishments and jailed their journalists for standing for free speech and civil liberties.

“Despite the lethal might of the military government, what appeared to be high and unyielding walls of dictatorship came tumbling down. The dismal fortress exists no longer.

“Despite facing repression and censorship under military rule, these media houses persevered in their pursuit of truth and transparency.”

Tinubu also reeled out the names of other democracy heroes, including himself, politicians, activists, and intellectuals, whose bravery and dedication paved the way for Nigeria’s democratic governance.

He said, “Fellow Nigerians, our Democracy is more than a historic fact. It is a living, breathing reality. The true meaning of this day is not to focus solely on the great deeds of the past that have brought us to this point.

“Yes, we pay eternal honour to those who laid down their lives, sacrificing everything to pave the way for the nation.

“I stand uniquely placed in this regard. I was among those who took the risk to midwife the birth of our democracy. I am now a direct and obvious beneficiary of the fruits of those historic efforts.

“As president of this nation, I am morally and constitutionally bound to preserve this precious form of governance.

“I vow to do my utmost best to protect your rights, freedoms, and liberties as citizens of Nigeria. Even more than that, I pledge to do whatever is necessary to cement democracy as our way of life.”

President Tinubu reaffirmed his commitment to upholding democracy as Nigeria’s way of life, pledging to protect the rights and freedoms of all citizens.”

He urged Nigerians to cherish the hard-won victories of the past and remain steadfast in their pursuit of a brighter democratic future.

Tinubu’s List of Nigeria’s Democracy Icons

  1. Chief MKO Abiola
  2. Kudirat Abiola
  3. General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua
  4. Pa Alfred Rewane
  5. Chief Anthony Enahoro
  6. Chief Abraham Adesanya
  7. Commodore Dan Suleiman
  8. Chief Arthur Nwankwo
  9. Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife
  10. Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu
  11. Chief Frank Kokori
  12. Chief Bola Ige
  13. Chief Adekunle Ajasin
  14. Chief Ganiyu Dawodu
  15. Chief Ayo Fasanmi
  16. Chief Gani Fawehinmi
  17. Chief Olabiyi Durojaiye
  18. Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti
  19. Chima Ubani
  20. General Alani Akinrinade
  21. Professor Bolaji Akinyemi
  22. Professor Wole Soyinka
  23. Chief Ralph Obioha
  24. Chief Cornelius Adebayo
  25. Olisa Agbakoba
  26. Femi Falana
  27. Abdul Oroh
  28. Senator Shehu Sani
  29. Governor Uba Sani
  30. Chief Olu Falae
  31. Chief Ayo Adebanjo
  32. Chief Ayo Opadokun
  33. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

The Media

  1. The Punch
  2. Guardian
  3. National Concord
  4. Tribune
  5. The News/Tempo
  6. TELL Magazines

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