By Adekunle Williams
Dr Olatokunbo Osinowo has paid emotional tribute to his Nephew, Sen. Bayo Osinowo, who died on June 15, 2020, for his contributions to the June 12 struggle and better Nigeria.
In his tribute in Lagos on Thursday, Osinowo, a Lecturer, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun, said his nephew would be remembered as a key figure in the struggle for democracy.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Bayo Osinowo, also known as Pepperito, died of complications from COVID-19 on June 15, 2023 at the age 65.
NAN also recalls that Osinowo was elected into the Lagos State House of Assembly, representing Kosofe I Constituency from 2003 to 2019.
In 2019, the late lawmaker was elected as the senator representing the Lagos East Senatorial District.
He was subsequently appointed as the chairman, senate committee on industries before his demise on June 15.
Osinowo, in his tribute, said Bayo Osinowo’s contributions to the June 12 struggle and his tireless advocacy for a better Nigeria would always be remembered and revered by those who continued to fight for democracy and justice.
“Osinowo, born on Nov. 28, 1955, in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun , began his political career in the early 1990s, actively participating in the pro-democracy movement against the military regime that held power at the time.
“My nephew was a vocal advocate for the restoration of democratic governance and played a crucial role in mobilising support for the June 12 struggle, which refers to the historic presidential election held on June 12, 1993, in Nigeria.
“The election, widely regarded as one of the freest, fairest and most credible in the country’s history, saw Chief MKO Abiola, a prominent businessman and philanthropist, emerge as the presumed winner.
“However, the military regime, led by General Ibrahim Babangida, annulled the election, sparking widespread protests and civil unrest across Nigeria,” he said.
Osinowo noted that his late nephew actively participated in various demonstrations, rallies, and public campaigns in support of the June 12 struggle.
According to him, he fervently advocated for the recognition of the election results and the installation of Abiola as the legitimate president of Nigeria.
The lecturer said during the actualisation of the June 12 struggle in 1993, his nephew was one of those imprisoned by the then-military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha.
Osinowo said during the heyday of the military regime under Abacha, the late senator aligned himself with the progressive forces in the fight to achieve the democratic mandate of Abiola.
The lecturer said as a result, Bayo Osinowo incurred the wrath of the Abacha-led military government and was subsequently imprisoned.
He said Osinowo’s unwavering commitment to democracy and his courageous stance against military dictatorship earned him respect and admiration among his fellow activists and supporters.
The lecturer said: “Despite facing numerous challenges and threats, Osinowo remained resolute in his pursuit of justice and democratic ideals.
“He played a crucial role in raising awareness about the importance of June 12 and its significance in Nigeria’s political landscape. His efforts, along with those of other pro-democracy activists, eventually led to the transition to civilian rule in 1999.
“Senator Bayo Osinowo’s dedication to the June 12 struggle and his contributions to the democratic process in Nigeria did not go unnoticed.
“He served as a member, Lagos assembly for 16 years and throughout his time, played a pivotal role as a strong pillar within the house, actively mobilising, coordinating and implementing the goals, objectives, and decisions of the party.”
The lecture said tragically, on June 15, 2020, Sen. Bayo Osinowo passed away, leaving behind a legacy of resilience, courage and commitment to democratic principles.
He said today, is the third anniversary of his death, and he was still warmly remembered.
Osinowo prayed that Bayo Osinowo would continue to rest in eternal peace, knowing that his legacy lived on through the countless lives he touched and the indelible mark he left on his beloved nation and state.