June 12 Declaration: Buhari Only Trying To Regain Lost Popularity – PDP Member
A member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Umar Ardo, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as Nigeria’s new Democracy Day has political undertones.
Ardo, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday, said although making the declaration in honour of the late politician, Moshood Abiola, was a good idea, the motive behind it was questionable.
“I have absolutely no problem with honouring them. They have done a whole lot in honouring the democratic process of Nigeria. My only problem is the motive, because I have been following President Buhari’s politics since he came into politics in 2002.
“I never heard him say anything about June 12. Neither in 2003, 2007, 2015 or even 2018 on the 29th of May when he addressed the nation,” he said.
According to him, the President never hinted of his plans and as such, the rather unexpected declaration was an indication of his attempt to score political points especially in the southwest.
He also noted that the move may be an attempt to “rubbish” past presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida, with whom he (Buhari) has had some political friction.
“Before coming into politics, he worked with General Sani Abacha as the PTF chairman and you know that Sani Abacha was central in denying the actualisation of June 12 and incarcerating MKO Abiola so for him to just come out and put out the issue of June 12, like a bolt out of the blue, it gives a lot of serious reason for concern.
“If you have not led a background on something and out of the blue you just came out with it, that means either you are in a desperate state and you want to achieve something or that you are being schemed by somebody who also wants to achieve something.
“Also, you may want to make rubbish. For example he has a running battle with President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is a key beneficiary of June 12 and President Ibrahim Babangida who annulled the June 12 election – he has key issues with them, so I believe he must be thinking that if he comes up with this that not only will he regain his lost popularity in the country, especially in the southwest but he will also be able to rubbish these two former presidents on the grounds that they were responsible for it”.
President Buhari had made the declaration on Wednesday, in honour of the late businessman and politician, Moshood Abiola, who ran for presidency on June 12, 1993.
He also conferred a posthumous GCFR title on him as the presumed winner of the election.
The President in a tweet on his official handle explained why June 12 will replace May 29. He noted that June 12 is a more symbolic day.
“Dear Nigerians, I am delighted to announce that, after due consultations, the Federal Government has decided that henceforth, June 12 will be celebrated as Democracy Day.
“We have also decided to award posthumously the highest Honour in the land, GCFR, to Chief MKO Abiola.
“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,” his tweet read.