June 12: Tinubu ask Jonathan to honour Abiola as posthumous president
The national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Bola Tinubu has demanded that the late winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola must be honoured as a worthy post-humous president of Nigeria.
Mr Tinubu made the plea at a ceremony to mark the 19th anniversary of the election, adjudged to be the freest and fairest election in the nation’s history.
Abiola was declared the winner of the 1993 election, which was later annulled by military Head of State, Ibrahim Babaginda. Abiola died in 1998 in military detention, fighting to reclaim his mandate.
The former governor of Lagos state, thanked President Goodluck Jonathan for immortalizing the late MKO Abiola with the recent re-naming of the University of Lagos after him, but quipped that “the recognition with renaming of University of Lagos amounts to a tokenism which is not unique.”
“Naming of the University of Lagos after Chief M.K.O. Abiola is a move that reduces the national mandate to a sectional mandate” he stated, adding that “what should be done is for the Federal Government to posthumously recognize Chief Abiola as the winner and President elect of the 1993 elections.”
Mr Tinubu also urged the federal government to declare the 12th of June or the birthday of the late business mogul as a national holiday to honour him just as the US did for Martin Luther-King.
According to governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola, the historic elections of June 12, should inspire all Nigerians to be patriotic to change things they do not accept.
Noting that on June 12, 1993, Nigerians resolved to support a team that they think could take them out of poverty, the governor said “on June 12, the nation stood as one without tribe, religious or sectional considerations to choose freedom, align with prosperity, fight poverty and defeat hunger.”
He also discouraged the claim that religion was a divisive factor in Nigeria’s political arena, saying on June 12, 1993 Nigerians were resolute in saying religion was not a dividing factor.
In his address, the Chairman of the occasion, former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa said Nigerians will continue to remember and commemorate the June 12 elections because it was an election that cannot be wished away.
He said the recent pronouncement by the umpire at the 1993 general elections that Chief MKO Abiola indeed won the election is a clear reason why the late winner who was denied his mandate should be immortalized.
He also called for the setting up of a judicial panel of enquiry to investigate the circumstances surrounding the annulment of the 1993 election, adding that all those found guilty of having contributed should be punished.
Founder of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) Dr Fredrick Fasehun in his brief remark suggested that the planned N2000 new denomination by the Federal Government should bear the portrait of late MKO Abiola while the Abuja National Stadium should also be named after him.
Meanwhile, the day was also celebrated across the southwest states. In Abeokuta the country home of MKO, the state government commemorated the June 12 anniversary with a democracy day walk round major streets in the state.
At the family home of the Abiola’s, the younger brother of the late politician; Mubashiru Abiola expressed the family’s appreciation for the honour bestowed on the politician by the federal government. But he added that the family has been completely abandoned.
And in neighbouring Oyo state, the state governor Abiola Ajimobi made a very strong case for the declaration of MKO as a post-humous president of Nigeria. He also demanded that he should be conferred with the highest honour in the land, the title of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) which according to him, is befitting of a president.
Also the governor of Ondo state, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, marked the day with the lunch of free transportation scheme for primary school pupils in the state