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JUNE 12 STRUGGLE: Adeniji Adele the Unsung Hero


It has become pertinent for me to write about Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele, not as a politician, not as an engineer, not even as a great businessman but from my point of view as a young man who was directly impacted by the June 12 struggle.

I have read many articles about June 12, how it all played out, the events that followed, the men and women that made it a reality, and for some unknown reasons, the name Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele is seemingly being down-played. Yes, at the time the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO)  was formed, he was not part of the group, but even before he eventually joined the group, he and his supporters had begun their own mode of resistance by organizing street riots, co-ordinated strikes and effective stay at home orders, ordering the Lagos Municipal Transport Service (LMTS) buses to stay out of Lagos roads bringing economic activities in Lagos to a standstill. The protests became the order of the day in the then City of Lagos. The military saw him, with his famous Lagos Island band boys, as the arrowhead of the protests and demonstrations hence making him a target. It is a pity that Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (MKO) had to pay the ultimate price for the Democracy we all enjoy today, Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele also eventually paid the price, as he is late now due to ill health, his health of which was believed to have deteriorated from spending 18 months incarcerated in Kaduna Maximum prison under the Military Government from 1994-1996. 

His role should not be forgotten so easily. The declaration of Chief MKO Abiola at the historical Epetedo declaration, where Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele took part and mobilised the masses against the military dictatorship should serve as a reminder. This was his constituency and he did not fear the backlash from the military Government of the day.  He did not criticise the military junta from a distance, he stood his ground on the streets of Lagos with his boys from all over Lagos state. 

Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele was subsequently arrested at Sheraton Hotel in Ikeja in 1994 and whisked away to an unknown location. We searched tirelessly for him without luck. Eventually we were able to pinpoint his location, where I later learnt to be the Federal Maximum Prison Kaduna State. At this time his businesses and family had suffered a great deal, his children were out school for the 18months he was incarcerated, the whole family was devastated and feared the worst. We had to stay in Kaduna for what looked like eternity at the time. Thanks to the families of well-meaning Nigerians who made the prison time bearable for him and us his family in the new location we found ourselves.

At some point, Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele became worried because of his children and businesses, he would lament about his incarceration and how tired he was, locked up. He was eventually released sometimes in 1996 a few mins to mid-night. Even after his release, we still feared that it might be a ploy not to have his death on their hands (Military Junta).

This is just a fragment of what I experienced first-hand during the struggle. Yes, I was not directly part of that struggle but was affected by it, so it gladdens me to celebrate the Prince of Hope, Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele and other unsung heros of the struggle. A few people who have taken out time to acknowledge the Prince of Hope, may God acknowledge you as well. Many thanks to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Olasupo Shasore SAN who at some point had written a piece to acknowledge this unsung hero, Lagos Island East LCDA and Local Island Governments for their recognition of the outstanding contribution toward enthronement of democracy in Nigeria to Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele, and also organized an elaborate reception to present a plaque to honour him on  June 12th 2018.  

I decided to write this piece, thinking about the Lizard that hails himself when no one seems to acknowledge his acrobatic prowess. I do not seek any monetary compensation or acknowledgement for myself, only for the story of all unsung heroes of the June 12 struggle be told over and over again. Perhaps we may draw inspiration and rededicate our commitment to democracy. We should give honour to whom it is due.

Kudos to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Mohammed Buhari for acceding to the demands to make June 12, Nigeria’s Democracy Day.

Fallen but not forgotten Ademola Omo Adele Omo Ologbon di ori eja mu.

HAPPY DEMOCRACY DAY

Omo Obalufon O, Omo Olode Oguta, Omo Agba O Sinlu Ilu Baje Baale Ile Ku Ile Dahoro, Omo Denge Tutu Leyin O Gbona Ninu, Omo Oji Loru Kerikeri, Obe Riri Lokunkun, Omo Osupa Le Eni Ogun, Omo Osi Wini Gbe Wini Ko, Omo Agbaagba Tin Gbara Adugbo. O Gba Sokenu, Ogba Apati, O gba Sodeke Tomotomo, Omo Anrode Irana, Anwo'le Eko Lokankan Akinkanju Omo To Gbogun Jale Baba E, Omo Ogboro Yewo Bi Eledumare, Omo Kelebe Ojowu Ko Wo Giri, Ara Ibini Arokun Tayo. Omo Tani Oni Koko Nfojudi, Omo Oru Lanseka, Osan La Nse 'mele, Omo Afinju Woja Orin Gbendeke Obun Woja Pa Siosio, Obun Siosio Ni Reru Afinju Wole Omo Bibire Ko Se Fowo Ra, Omo Abekolo Jija Du Ewa.

Prince Ademola Adeniji-Adele
13th January 1956 - 5th May 2016
Rest in Peace

He was of great capacity and a consummate politician: Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

A Champion of Democracy and a Master of Politics: Supo Shasore (SAN)

A loss not only to Lagos and family, but also the pro-democracy community in the country: Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

A great political figure, a committed leader and a man with love and passion to serve: Former Governor Olusegun Mimiko

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