JUNE 12: MIXED REACTION TRAIL POSTHUMOUS HONOUR FOR MKO ABIOLA, GANI
There has been mixed reactions trailed the posthumous honours given to late chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election annulled by then military president, Gen. Ibrahim Badamisi Babangida popularly called IBB A.K.A Maradona.
In a surprise press release Wednesday signed by president Buhari honoured late Abiola with a posthumous Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR, the highest honour in the land.
MKO’s the vice presidential candidate, Baba Gana Kingibe and late lawyer and human activist, chief Gani Fawehinmi were honoured with GCON.
In a remarkable feat, the president declared June 12 as National public holiday replacing May 29 as Democracy Day.
The announcement sent joy across the South West and among Nigerians who lived to witness June 12, 1993.
SDP produced a muslim-muslim joint ticket in Abiola-Kingibe yet no one raised an eye brow so was Tofa of NRC. The SDP ticket got overwhelming victory in the south and among Christians. Today such cannot happened. It was adjudged the freest and fairest election ever in Nigeria.
Since the return of democracy, loyalists of MKO have called for the restoration of his mandate even at death and when former president Olusegun Obasanjo declared May 29, the day the military government of Gen Abdusalami Abubakar handed over to civilians as Democracy Day, many in the South West insisted June 12 should have been and when Obasanjo wouldn’t oblige they declared so in states controlled by the Action Congress.
When elections come at any time, late Abiola’s memory seems to be used as a bargaining chip to score political points.
In 2015 former president Goodluck Jonathan in a walk to the election, renamed University of Lagos to Moshood Abiola University. The wide spread condenmnation of that decision from the South West led by Abiola’s loyalist was a huge shock to even the Abiola family and GEJ had to rescind his decision.
Now ahead of 2019 presidential election, Buhari in need of South West votes has done what no government had had the courage to do, honour MKO and recognise June 12 as Democracy Day.
He has indeed done the honourable thing even if the motive is wrong. If it takes wrong motives for Nigerians to get what they deserve so be it.
However many have been pouring deserving accolades on the president and many from the opposition and suffering masses see it as trying to mislead voters in the South West and they arr also right in their own opinion.
Femi Fani Kayode as well as Oby Ezekwesili were excited and gave Buhari some accolades but not Reno Omokri and the PDP.
Nigeria twitter users expressed their feelings on the president’s handle and below are a few i could take in.