Democracy Day 2019: Northerners recount the June 12 struggle

Nigerians who led the June 12 struggle in the northern part of the country say they were spurred by love for country and quest for equity, transparency and justice.

Some of them are no more alive to tell the story.

But those living are thankful to President Muhammadu Buhari for recognising the day and struggle.

Second Republic governor of Kaduna state, Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa, Colonel Dangiwa Umar, Shehu Sani and others such as Yohanna Madaki and Bala Usman, were leading voices in northern Nigeria during the June 12 struggle.

These among others led the northern bloc to speak truth to the Babangida military government at the time.

They demonstrated full support for Moshood Kashimawo Abiola and Babagana Kingibe, who were flag bearers of the SDP.

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The election was annulled before announcement of results.

It was a move that sparked wild protests across the nation.

Balarabe Musa was arrested for leading the PRP/NEPU alliance to challenge the annulment.

He was banned from participating in political activities and kept at the Kirikiri maximum prison for two years.

Shehu Sani on the other hand was arrested several times and detained at the Kaduna convict prison for mobilising and leading students in Kaduna and other parts of the north to challenge the annulment.

He was later moved to the Kirikiri and Port Harcourt prisons. He remained in the prison walls for over four years.

He was later granted pardon by the interim government led by Ernest Shonekan.

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Dr. John Danfulani was the President of the Students Union Government at the Ahmadu Bello University at the time.

Though far younger, he also suffered the backlash of the military display of power.

These northern Nigerians are elated to be alive to tell their June twelve stories.

And while grateful to the President Muhammadu Buhari led government for recognising the day, they want more beyond the recognition.

They want the government to remember family members of those who lost their lives during the struggle.

Out of the country’s population of 102.8 million at the time, 38 million persons registered to vote.