Onoh dedicates 2023 Democracy Day to Tinubu, hails NADECO, pro-democracy activists
Former spokesman of President Bola Tinubu’s presidential campaign council in the Southeast, Dr Josef Onoh, has dedicated this year’s democracy day celebration to President Bola Tinubu, noting that his contribution to the struggle against military regimes was significant and germane in the restoration of democracy in Nigeria.
Onoh also commended the efforts of all the pro-democracy activists in Nigeria, particularly the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) members, that included his own father, His Excellency Late Chief C.C. Onoh, who all ensured through their bravery and sacrifice, pulled down the military men in politics to restore democracy back to the country.
In his June 12, 2023 democracy day tribute to President Tinubu, Onoh said: “Today we celebrate the turning point of our nation’s struggle for democracy, majority of our youth might not know the significance but have continued dreaming for a better future, a future they can be whatever they aspire to be and through hard work taps into the limitless positive opportunities our nation is blessed with.
“For me, today reminds me of the multiple traumatic experiences of midnight raids, breaking down of doors in my late father’s house in Ngwo by military officers and the SSS, as they were called back then, who quickly bundled him to various detention facilities across the country. One traumatic incident was the SSS holding facility at Epe town in Lagos state, I recall the torment and pain my mother went through while keeping a smiling face during these sad ordeals, out of paranoia we would drive from Enugu to Lagos just to be near my father and our family will forever remain grateful to late Chief Shafi Lawal Edu for all the support he showed to us during such ordeals.
“Today I celebrate him, he remains one of Epe’s most fantastic sons and the pride of Nigeria, his contribution to conservation locally and internationally remains indelible. He was not just a friend but a brother to my father, hence I grew up devoid of any ethnic bondage rather to cherish and build a bond of brotherhood amongst all. This was one of the foundations and values that existed amongst the founding members of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) that served as a catalyst for the struggle over the annulled June 12, 1993 election that culminated in Nigeria’s return to civil rule in 1999.
“As I dedicate today’s democracy day to My President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, I dedicate today to his tenacity, doggedness, resilience, commitment, unruffled willpower, most of all his undying belief in a better Nigeria. As our President, he represents not just Nigeria but the dream, commitment and struggles of our departed champions of democracy, most especially Fela Aníkúlápó Kuti. My unwavering support for you Mr. President represents the spirit and dedication my departed father would have given everything to see, hence I’m grateful to God that I’m alive today to have you as my President. You stand as a Symbol not just a president but the everlasting symbol of the triumph of human will over suppression and bondage. You will forever represent the greatest liberty symbol of collective struggle, the unbroken shackles. I thank you for the support you gave my late father even while you were in exile.
“May you never forget the golden words made by NADECO on the 15th of May 1994 that- ‘Whereas the military as an institution is essentially authoritarian and cannot, therefore, midwife democracy in Nigeria; whereas the Nigerian political class which has been abused, subverted and humiliated in the past ten years for cooperating and working with the military-political agenda, how now realised that there is no alternative to democracy in Nigeria; now therefore, the leaders of the major democratic and progress organisations and eminent Nigerians hereby resolve to create a nationwide, broad-based political reform where all democratic and progressive forces can find accommodation for a joint struggle for the restoration of democracy and true federalism in Nigeria.’
“May your tenure, therefore, bring peace to our nation and also peace to the departed comrades in the struggle. Today, you now carry the collective burden of their struggle.
“I dedicate today to you Mr. President, to the spirit of M.K.O Abiola and the entire Abiola family, to the souls of those comrades departed and living in the persons of Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin, Mallam Lawal Dambazzau, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, Chief Anthony Enahoro, Major General Adeyinka Adebayo (retd.), Chief Bola Ige, Commodore Dan Suleiman, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Professor Anya O. Anya, Colonel Yohanna Madaki, Reverend Father Moses Adasu, Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti, Reverend Tunji Adebiyi, Chief Ade Ojo, Chief Ralph Obioha, Chief Empire Kanu, Chief Michael Anyiam, Dr. Sola Soile, Vice Admiral Akin Aduwo, Chief E. Duru, Mr. Nick Dazzang, Mr. Labaran Maku, Dr A. A. Akingba, Mr Babas Eko Oyekanmi, Mr Alex Ayatolla, Mrs Sarah Jubril, Alhaji Ganiyu Dawodu, Mr O. P. Edodo, Mr A. Barber, Otunba Olabiyi Durojaiye, Chief Olusegun Osoba, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, Alhaji Mohammed Siraj Hamza, Dr. Wahab Dosunmu, Otunba Aboyade Cole, Major General Olufemi Olutoye (rtd), Chief Sobo Sowemimo, Dr. Steve Achema, Chief Olaniwun Ajayi, Chief Olu Falae, Brigadier-General Jonah Jang, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Mr. Alao Aka-Bashorun, Mr. Emmanuel Njiwah, Chief Vincent Nwizugbo and Dr. Uma Eleazu.
May I also most especially dedicate today’s democracy day to my Dearest father, confidant, friend and role model H. E, Chief (Dr) C. C. Onoh of blessed memory and NADECO leaders who at one time or the other got harassed, arrested and incarcerated include Chief Enahoro, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd), Chief Olu Falae; Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Pa Alfred Rewane, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Chief. C. C. Onoh, General Alani Akinrinade; Mr. Clement Nwankwo; Mr. Olawale Oshun; Dr. Frederick Faseun; Mr. Ayo Opadokun, Femi Falana and Frank Ovie-Kokori, Mohammed Arzika, Olu Lulu-Briggs, Chief Bola Ige, Beko Ransome-Kuti, Yohanna Madaki, Cornelius Adebayo, Wahab Dosunmu, Uma Eleazu, Segun Osoba and Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife among others.
Other leaders also included Dangiwa Umar; Femi Falana and Kayode Fayemi, who manned the pirate Radio Kudirat at the height of the ‘war’ against the Abacha regime.
“May their efforts and struggles never be forgotten, may your tenure as our president bring lasting peace and prosperity to our great nation. The time has come to break the shackles that have held us down. Happy democracy day Nigeria; Happy democracy day Mr. President; My President; our President!”
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