Tinubu’s Omission of Fasehun from June 12 Heroes List Receives Criticism

President Bola Tinubu’s exclusion of the late Dr. Frederick Fasehun, founder of the Oodua Peoples Congress, from the list of June 12 heroes in his Democracy Day address has sparked strong disapproval from his family.

In a statement issued by the late OPC founder’s son, Remi Fasehun, the family described the exclusion of his father from the President’s list as uncharitable, ungrateful, and unpardonable. He emphasized that Tinubu was a direct beneficiary of his father’s activism and sacrifices for democracy, noting that Dr. Fasehun had even assisted Tinubu in fleeing into exile.

“The President was a beneficiary of our father’s activism and sacrifice for democracy. Not only were they in the trenches together, but Fasehun helped Tinubu to escape into exile. It is on record that, when General Sani Abacha’s squad surrounded Senator Abraham Adesanya’s residence, where they held a meeting, Tinubu mounted the back of Fasehun and jumped the fence to flee into hiding and subsequently into exile.

“Several people, who escaped from the country into exile and joined NADECO-Abroad, including Pa Anthony Enahoro, were personally taken by boat and bush paths, through the NADECO Route, by Dr. Fasehun. He was at a point the link between Pa Enahoro-NADECO and NUPENG, the union that played a pivotal role in that struggle.

“He was thrown into prison several times by the General Sani Abacha junta, in Kirikiri, Ilorin, and Kuje. At the infamous Inter Centre in Ikoyi Cemetery, he was held incommunicado for several months, an experience that inflicted immense damage on him physically and psychologically, to the extent of leaving his vision impaired for life.

“His family and businesses paid dearly for his struggle for democracy. Today, his wife and children still pay the price of their father’s sacrifice to birth the democracy Nigeria has today.”

The statement noted that Fasehun’s businesses, Century Hotel and Besthope Hospital in Lagos, had declined significantly from their former prosperity due to his dedication to the June 12 struggle. It highlighted that Fasehun founded the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) in 1994 specifically to fight for democracy against the military regime.

“To ignore such an inimitable icon as Dr. Frederick Isiotan Fasehun from any so-called list of June 12 and Democratic Heroes smacks of crass injustice and inexplicable vendetta,” the statement concluded.

The family recalled that during the June 12 struggle, hundreds of OPC members were killed extrajudicially by security forces. They urged Tinubu to address the unprecedented poverty, inflation, and insecurity facing citizens with appropriate welfare measures.

“We only hope that in the name of fairness and justice, the President will correct this anomaly and place Dr. Fasehun in Nigeria’s democratic Hall of Fame as he very well deserves. Truth should not be sacrificed on the altar of politics. Dr. Fasehun should be given his well-deserved historical recognition as a true Nigerian Hero of Democracy,” the statement concluded.

Credit: PUNCH


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