By Olusakin Babalola,Ibadan
The Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde has granted amnesty to 35 convicted prisoners in commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day, June 12.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the Governor took the decision pursuant to Section 212 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The statement further confirmed that the Governor has approved a low-key June 12 celebration while enjoining residents and citizens of the state to take time off to reflect on the ways by which they can contribute to the growth of Nigeria’s democracy.
He also urged them all to go about the celebration peacefully.
“Today, we have decided to set free 35 prisoners, who have been found worthy of that amnesty,” the Governor said, adding that the state would, however, only observe a low- key celebration.
According to the Governor, in subsequent years, the state would collaborate with the family of the hero of June 12, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola to celebrate the day in grand style.
The statement further read: “The Government and people of Oyo State today join millions of Nigerians to remember a man who devoted his life to the service of his community and eventually died, seeking to offer more service, Chief MKO Abiola, GCFR.
“We recall 26 years ago, how Nigerians of all walks of life spoke in unison and trooped out to participate in the freest and fairest presidential election Nigeria has ever seen.
“It was a sad day as the election was annulled by the military and the man, Abiola, eventually died in detention. We take solace, however, in the fact that his determination and dogged fight watered the flowers of democracy. It is a good thing that today, the nation is recognising his contributions by setting aside June 12 as a National Day for the celebration of democracy.
“As a people and a government, we can only urge ourselves to jealously guard and guide the legacy of democracy bequeathed to us through the struggles of MKO, while doing all we could to leave a more enduring democratic system for our children and the unborn generation.
“We salute the family of the heroes and heroines of June 12, who have had to suffer the grief and indignity of losing their beloved ones untimely. We salute the courage of the pro-democracy fighters and activists, the leaders of defunct National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) and many silent contributors, who kept the flag of June 12 flying even when it was a dangerous venture to do say.
“We salute the many heroes and heroines, especially the late Kudirat Abiola and Pa Alfred Rewane among others, who paid with their blood in the struggle to give June 12 its deserved recognition. May the souls of those that departed in the course of the June 12 struggles continue to rest in peace.
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