…PDP reacts,calls it hypocrisy
Against all odds,President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday declared June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day and also awarded Nigeria’s highest honour, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR, to the late businessman Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, winner of the election held on same date in 1993.
The annulment of the election, adjudged to be the freest and fairest up till that year, in Nigeria’s history by the Military junta headed by General Ibrahim Babangida threw Nigeria into a 5-year political crises leading to the death of Abiola and General Sanni Abacha.
According to the statement signed by President Buhari and made available states that Abiola’s running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe will also be honoured with Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, the second highest honour. And so will Chief Gani Fawehinmi, the indefatigable lawyer and senior advocate who campaigned for the actualisation of June 12 up till Abiola’s death in 1998. The event will hold on June 12.
The shift in Nigeria’s Democracy day from May 29 being the day military handed over to June 12 will start from 2019.
The present arrangement will make it possible for the rest of Nigerians to join the south-west in celebrating the June 12 as Democracy day.
The President recounted in the statement “In the view of Nigerians, as shared by this Administration, June 12, 1993 was and is far more symbolic of Democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29, or even October 1”.
“For the past 18 years, Nigerians have been celebrating May 29 as Democracy Day. That was the date when for the second time in our history, an elected civilian administration took over from a military government.
“The first time this happened was on October 1st, 1979. But in the view of Nigerians, as shared by this Administration, June 12th, 1993, was far more symbolic of Democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29th or even the October 1.
“June 12th, 1993 was the day when Nigerians in millions expressed their democratic will in what was undisputedly the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections since our Independence.
“The fact that the outcome of that election was not upheld by the then military Government does not detract from the democratic credentials of that process.
“Accordingly, after due consultations, the Federal Government has decided that henceforth, June 12th will be celebrated as Democracy Day. Therefore, government has decided to award posthumously the highest honour of the land GCFR, to late Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12th 1993 cancelled elections.
“His running mate as Vice President, Amb. Baba Gana Kingibe, is also to be invested with a GCON.
“Furthermore, the tireless fighter for human rights and the actualization of the June 12 elections and indeed for Democracy in general, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN is to be awarded the GCON.
“The investiture will take place on Tuesday June 12, 2018, a date which in future years will replace May 29 as a National Public Holiday in celebration of Nigeria Democracy Day.’’Buhari concludes
However,the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in her reaction to the official declaration on the new democracy day and honour to MKO Abiola as set by Buhari smacks hypocrisy andpolitical desperation ahead 2019 presidential election.