‘Well Deserved’: Nigerians React As Buhari Proposes To Rename National Stadium After Abiola

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday proposed the renaming of the National Stadium in Abuja after M.K.O Abiola.

The move, according to him was part of efforts to atone for the “damage done in annulling the presidential election” of June 12, 1993.

Several reactions have trailed the proposal, with some Nigerians stating that the development is well-deserved.

Read Also: Buhari Proposes Renaming Of Abuja National Stadium After MKO Abiola

Although some have commended the move, they also believe that more has to be done to honour the efforts of Abiola and other heroes of Nigeria’s democratic struggle.

See some of the reactions below.

Some others, however, criticised the move.

55th Independence: Ekweremadu Preaches Unity, Good Governance

independenceThe Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekwermadu, has described national unity and good governance as essential ingredients in the nation’s quest for national development.

Senator Ekweremadu stated this in his independence message to Nigerians.

He reasoned that the nation’s founding fathers were able to achieve independence for Nigeria because they rose above political, ethnic, religious, and sectional cleavages to speak with one voice.

He said: “Sadly, there is no doubt that the full blessings of political independence has continued to elude us. I, therefore, believe that the occasion of the 55th Independence Anniversary is an opportunity for soul searching and retracing of our steps.

“We inherited a country where Nigerians won elections and held high political and civil service positions outside their places of origin.

“In our recent past, late Chief M.K.O Abiola and Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe’s presidential ticket was overwhelmingly embraced across the nation despite the fact that they were both Muslims. But it is almost unthinkable in the Nigeria of today. This is certainly not the type of freedom and country our founding fathers fought for.”

He, however, expressed strong belief that Nigeria would overcome its challenges if those in positions of authority embrace good governance and use their positions to rally the nation to common national goals.

He added that the fact that Nigeria remains an indivisible country 55 years after independence despite challenges was a major achievement and a cause to celebrate.

“It also means that the factors upon which the nation’s greatness was predicted are still intact, but we must conscientiously address the issue of national unity to move forward”, he stressed.

Nigerians Remember June 12 Election Annulment

june 12Nigerians in some states of the federation marked the June 12 election annulment, which has become one of the most significant dates in the nation’s political history.

Today marks the 22nd anniversary of the controversial annulment of what is believed to be one of the freest and fairest elections ever conducted in Nigeria.

On June 12, 1993, many Nigerians believed they were at the threshold of witnessing the completion of a political transition from military to democratic governance, with the conclusion of the presidential election.

Results released showed business mogul and philanthropist, Mr Moshood Abiola, who ran on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) clearly in the lead and on the verge of emerging victorious.

But the final results did not see the light of day, as then Military Ruler, General Ibrahim Babangida, made a shocking announcement that the election had been annulled.

Nigerians reacted with street protests, nationwide strikes and civil disobedience.

The resultant crisis eventually forced Babangida out of office, handing over to a short-lived interim government lead by Ernest Shonekan, who was overthrown by General Sani Abacha on November 17.

General Abacha later had Chief Abiola jailed for claiming his mandate. Chief M.K.O Abiola died in detention on July 8 1998.

However, the anniversary of the presidential election is held every year mostly in the south western part of the country, Chief Abiola’s home region.

There have been calls from some quarters to have the day immortalised as Democracy Day in Nigeria, but the government has upheld May 29 as the nation’s Democracy Day.

June 12: South West States Observe Holiday In Honour Of M.K.O Abiola

MKO-Abiola

After 21 years, the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election is still being referred to as the best ever conducted in Nigeria’s history.

On that day, millions of Nigerians trooped out to perform their civic duty, looking beyond ethno-religious bias to participate in the electoral process.

The controversy here is that the election, believed to have been won by late Chief Moshood Abiola on the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party, was annulled by the military regime under General Ibrahim Babangida.

After waiting for over a year with his mandate nowhere in sight, Abiola   declared himself the lawful President of Nigeria on June 11, 1994.

His address, delivered in Epetedo, Lagos, included an announcement that he has formed a government of national unity which he was to head.

He died on July 7, 1998 in Abuja fighting for his mandate.

South West states have declared today a work-free day while many civil society organizations have lined up different events to mark the day.