Published On: Tue, Jun 12th, 2018

Buhari apologizes to Abiola family over annulment of presidential mandate

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By Lawrence Olaoye

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has offered unreserved apology on behalf of the Federal Government to the family of late MKO Abiola, over the annulment of June 12 1993 poll he presumably won.

The President gave the apology at the Special National Honours Investiture and award presentation to heroes of June 12 1993 poll won on ten platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) but was annulled by the then military President Ibrahim Babangida.

According to him, the decision to hold the event was not to open old wounds but to bury negative sides of June 12 and it ill-feelings, hates, frustration and agony.

He, therefore, called on all Nigerians across national divides to accept the annulment of the June 12 1993 poll in good faith.

“I honestly invite all Nigerians across all our national divides to accept it in good faith. Our action today is to bury the negative sides of June 12, the side of ill feelings, hates, frustration and agony.

“What we are doing is celebrating and appreciating the positive sides of June 12.

“The June 12 which reinstates democracy and freedom, the June 12 that overcome our various divides and the June that produces unity and national cohesion.

“This is the June 12 we are celebrating today and we will nurture it to our next generation

“Accordingly, on behalf of the Federal Government, I tender the nation apology to the family of late MKO Abiola who got the highest votes and to those that lost their loved ones in the course of June 12 struggle,’’ he said.

Buhari asked for a minute silence in honour of late MKO Abiola and those that lost lives in the struggle for actualization of June 12

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo tendered an apology for not being present at the event because of his involvement in a book launch outside the country.

Former President Ibrahim Babangida equally tendered similar apology for his absence because of some prevailing issues touching on his health conditions.

 

Late Abiola’s eldest son , Kola Abiola, who spoke on behalf of the family, said “Mr. President on behalf of the MKO Abiola family, we  accept both the award and the apology. We will like to thank you for the great honour you have done our family. We thank you for taking the decisive measures to strengthen our democracy and guarantee our future by reconciling our past.”

 

Mohammed Fawehinmi, who received the GCON on behalf of the late freedom fighter, Chief Gani Fawehinmi told Buhari: “You are the first sensitive and reasonable head of state that has listened to Nigerians and acted accordingly. June 12 is the foundation of democracy in this country. The recognition of Chief MKO Abiola as president-elect in this country not as presumed winner, I thank God that I have seen today.

Today is symbolic because it shows the entrenchment of unity all citizens of this country regardless of your tribe, ethic background, religious beliefs because we are all Nigerians.

 

I want to appeal to all our politicians for God’s sake let us appreciate ourselves as Nigerians. Chief MKO won Hope ‘93 but he was not allowed to govern. President Buhari won and we thank God He was  allowed to govern.

 

We urged all Nigerians to support this man, to stop bickering and trivialities, religion and ethnic background. If you loose take it that way.

 

We are experiencing problems in Nigeria now because of hatred of values but I know with Oga at the helms of affairs things will be better for Nigeria.”

 

The Nasarawa state governor, Alhaji Tanko Al-makura, who spoke to journalist at the event said the deannulment of the June 12 election and the honour conferred in the winner, the President had demonstrated his commitment to democracy, fairness and the rule of law in the country.

 

According to him, the gesture will further heal the wounds and go a long way in ensuring unity and national cohesion in the country. He stressed that the President had by the singular action proven that he means well for every Nigerian, dead or living.

 

Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello, also lauded the President for recognizing Abiola as the winner of the June 12 1993 Presidential election. According to him, the recognition of June 12 as the democracy day signaled the beginning of freedom in the country.

 

 

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