Bashir Tofa, Former Presidential Candidate, Dies At 74

File photo: Bashir Tofa

 

The former presidential candidate of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC), Bashir Tofa, is dead.

Tofa died in the early hours of Monday at the age of 74.

A close relative of the deceased who confirmed the news to Channels Television said Tofa died at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital after a protracted illness.

Tofa was the presidential candidate of the NRC in the June 12, 1993 election. During the election, Tofa squared off against MKO Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the presumed winner of the election. But the Babangida regime annulled the election.

Although the official results of the election were never released by Babangida’s government, Tofa was apparently defeated in the presidential election by his rival Moshood Abiola. Babangida was forced to step down in August 1993 after protests calling for the results of the election.

READ ALSO: 2022 Budget: Buhari Will Not Hamper Implementation Despite Changes – Garba Shehu

Born in Kano on June 20, 1947, Mr Tofa had his primary education at Shahuci Junior Primary, Kano, and continued at City Senior Primary School in Kano. From 1962 to 1966, he attended Provincial College, Kano.

After completing his studies at the Provincial school, he worked for Royal Exchange Insurance company from 1967 to 1968. He also attended City of London College from 1970 to 1973.

Tofa’s sojourn into politics started in 1976 when he was a councilor of Dawakin Tofa Local Government Council, in 1977, he was elected a member of the Constituent Assembly.

During the Nigerian Second Republic, Tofa was at various times the secretary of the Kano branch of NPN, he later became the party’s national financial secretary and was a national member of the Green Revolution National Committee.

During the Third Republic, he was part of the Liberal Movement which metamorphosed to the Liberal Convention when it was not registered as a political party, Tofa joined NRC in 1990.

In 1993, when the Babangida administration introduced the Option A4 system, Tofa was elected the presidential candidate representing Kano.

During the party primaries, he defeated Pere Ajunwa, Joe Nwodo, and Dalhatu Tafida to clinch the NRC ticket. At the time, he was an ally of Halilu Akilu, the security chief at the time. His running mate in the election was Sylvester Ugoh, an Igbo and a former governor of the now-defunct Central Bank of Biafra. Both were members of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN).

Mr Tofa was also a businessman and an industrialist.

MKO Abiola’s Children Sue Police For Wrongful Arrest

A file photo of a court gavel.

 

Two children of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, Presidential election, late Chief MKO Abiola, are suing the Lagos State Police Command to the tune of N100 million over their arrest and detention in connection with a robbery incident at their family House.

The two sons Kassim and Aliyu Abiola, approached the Ikeja Judicial Division of the Lagos State High Court of Lagos State for the enforcement of their fundamental rights.

In the suit filed on their behalf by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria Mike Ozekhome on Saturday, they alleged that their stepmother, Adebisi Abiola, is responsible for their arrest, having accused them of involvement in the robbery.

Read Also: Nigerian Army Will Be Ruthless With Bandits, Cattle Rustlers, Others – Buratai

Ozekhome, however, asked the court to order the release of Kassim and Aliyu, noting that their arrest was a violation of their fundamental human rights.

The judge, thereafter, directed that the Commissioner of Police be put on notice about the suit, and adjourned the matter to October 15, 2020.

PHOTOS: FG Commissions MKO Abiola Stadium In Abuja

The Federal Government commissions the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja, the nation’s capital on June 12, 2020. Credit: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

The Federal Government has officially commissioned the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

This comes a year after the Federal Government pledged to immortalise the late sports philanthropist and nationalist, Chief Moshood Abiola by renaming the stadium after him.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on June 12, 2019 announced the change of the name of the National Stadium to MKO Abiola Stadium.

READ ALSO: Democracy Day: Nigeria Marks 21 Years Of Uninterrupted Civil Rule

June 12 was signed into law as Democracy Day as a mark of honour to Mr Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.

See photos below:

 

What Nigerian Leaders Should Learn From MKO – Jamiu Abiola

Mr Jamiu, son of late MKO Abiola, urges Nigerian leaders to be selfless in their service to the nation.

 

 

One of the children of late MKO Abiola, Jamiu, has advised leaders in the country to take a cue from his father and move the nation forward.

Speaking during an interview with Channels Television on Friday, Jamiu urged the leaders to be selfless in their service to the nation.

“I think it is a clarion call to everyone to always look beyond what he (Abiola) did to what we can do today,” he said on the occasion of the Democracy Day.

The writer and author added, “If we learn from him and we do what he used to do, in terms of thinking less of himself and more of others, then what he has done will now become progressively continuous; it will not just stop with his death.”

A file photo of late MKO Abiola.

 

According to Jamiu, the central message for Nigeria is to look beyond Abiola’s struggle for good governance and implement some of the things he advocated in the past.

He insisted that Nigerians cannot continue to say “he (Abiola) did this, he did that without implementing some of these things and becoming more selfless.”

In 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari changed the date to mark Democracy Day in Nigeria from May 29 to June 12.

The date for the occasion which commemorates the return to civilian rule was changed in honour of late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola, the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential election.

Democracy Day: Nigeria Celebrates 20 Years Of Uninterrupted Civil Rule

 

Nigeria is marking the first celebration of Democracy Day on June 12 today, and the Federal Government is marking the day with a ceremony at the Eagle Square in the nation’s capital.

The ceremony, which will feature a colorful parade, will be attended by President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, leaders of the National Assembly, foreign leaders and diplomats.

 

Today’s Democracy Day has the added significance of marking 20 years after the return to civil rule in Nigeria.

 

For 18 years, starting in the year 2000, Nigeria celebrated Democracy Day on May 29, which was the day the military handed power back to civilians in 1999 after almost 16 years in power.

 

However, in June 2018 after the Federal Government posthumously honoured the late Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled June 12, 1993, Presidential election, with the title of GCFR, the process to make June 12 Democracy Day started.

 

That process was concluded on Monday, June 10 when President Buhari signed the Public Holiday (Amendment) Bill into law.

The new law accommodates June 12 as a public holiday in Nigeria, replacing May 29, which will now only be marked as a handover/inauguration of new governments in the country.

See More Photos Below.

Reps Pass Bill Establishing June 12 As Democracy Day

Reps Pass Bill Establishing June 12 As Democracy Day

 

The bill seeking to change Nigeria’s Democracy Day to June 12, has been passed by the House of Representatives.

During plenary on Wednesday, the bill passed its final reading, marking its successful journey through the Green Chambers.

Sponsored by Messrs Edward Pwajok and Kayode Oladele, the bill seeks to amend the 2004 Public Holiday Act and have the new date replace May 29 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.

The approval followed the adoption of a report on a bill seeking to amend the Public Holidays Act 2004.

Read Also: Reps Adopt June 12 As Democracy Day

President Muhammadu Buhari had in June directed that the National Democracy Day be shifted from May 29 to June 12.

Buhari gave the directive while conferring a posthumous award on the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, general elections, MKO Abiola.

The June 12, 1993 presidential election is acclaimed to be the freest and fairest in the country’s history.

However, the results were annulled by the then military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.

National Convention: MKO Abiola’s Son Wants To Become APC Youth Leader

Ahead of the national Convention of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) holding in Abuja this weekend, Abdulmumin Abiola, son of late MKO Abiola has joined the race for the ticket of the party’s National Youth Leader.

Abdulmumin Abiola told journalists on Wednesday that he decided to join the race because of his believe in the ruling APC.

Abdulmumin says he believes that he has what it takes to give the youths the much needed direction to move the nation forward and has always been working hard to bridge the gap for youths to contribute their quota to national development.

READ ALSO: Nigeria In Safe Hands Under President Buhari – Kebbi Governor

He, however stressed that he does not have any godfather and his recent joining of the political race has nothing to do with the recent recognition of his late father, by President Buhari.

His aim is to make his mark and this decision comes after wide consultations.

“God is my godfather but my late father gives me so much of inspiration. I also have people who are beneficiaries of my late father’s kindness that could rally round and extend hands of fellowship to me,” Abdul said.

It’s Impossible To Honour Abiola And Admire His Tormentor, Soyinka Tells Buhari

It’s Impossible To Honour Abiola And Admire His Tormentor, Soyinka Tells Buhari

 

Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop showing loyalty to the supposed tormentor of late MKO Abiola.

Professor Soyinka gave the advice in his speech on Tuesday in Abuja, at an event to honour Abiola – the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election.

READ ALSO: Special National Honours Investiture For Abiola, Others In Pictures

Although he didn’t mention any name, most Nigerians believe Soyinka was referring to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha (retd.), who detained Abiola for years until his death in 1998 when he attempted to reclaim his mandate as president.

He said, “l will like to make a request. Mr President, since we are honouring heroes of democracy today, l will like to request that you manage to stop creating confusion in the minds of Nigerians. It is not possible to honour MKO Abiola in one breadth and admire his tormentor in another breadth.”

Earlier, at the ceremony, President Buhari formally conferred a posthumous national honour of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Abiola, the highest award in the land.

He had also honoured Abiola’s running mate in the election, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, and late respected human rights activist, Gani Fawahinmi, with the national award of Grand Commander of the Niger (GCON).

The President had also tendered an apology to the Abiola family and others who lost their loved ones to the June 12 struggle.

Buhari Apologises To MKO Abiola’s Family On Behalf Of Nigerian Government

President Muhammadu Buhari with Professor Wole Soyinka, SGF Boss Mustapha, Award Recipient Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe (GCON), Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Son of MKO Abiola (Kola), Wife of Gani Fawehinmi (Mrs Ganiyat), and Former Governor Bola Tinubu at the Special National Honours Investiture at the State House Conference Centre on June 12, 2018.

On his part, Professor Soyinka noted that while he accepts President’s Buhari’s apology on behalf of Nigerians, he should stop confusing the people about his loyalty.

He said, “Most of what l wanted to say have been actually knocked off my mouth by one singular gesture – the presidential apology. It is a dimension which l did not expect from today’s ceremony.”

“Loyalty is all very well but loyalty can become perverse if that loyalty is retained to an individual who if he were alive today would be before the International Court of Crimes against humanity,” the Nobel laureate added.

He further accused the said tormentor of breaking the laws of the country and international laws, as well as committing crimes against humanity.

Hall Of Shame

Soyinka recalled a private conversation he once had with President Buhari during which he raised the issue of honouring “a notorious corrupt ruler” by one of the most important avenues (major roads) in the nation’s capital.

He stated that the response he got from the President was not too satisfactory, stressing that the martyrs of the June 12 struggle and Nigeria’s philanthropists should be honoured in place of corrupt persons.

In this regard, the professor asked the government to “Inaugurate our Hall of Shame, so that as we have our Hall of Heroes, on the one hand, we can also have our Hall of Shame as a lesson to the future generation.”

He added: “l do not agree that this is closure to the events of June 12.

“There are far too many traumatised individuals walking around the streets, pauperised individuals as a result of the policies and attitudes of one of the most brutal dictators, in fact, the most brutal dictator that this country has ever known.”

Special National Honours Investiture For Abiola, Others In Pictures

Special National Honours Investiture In Pictures
President Muhammadu Buhari with Professor Wole Soyinka, SGF Boss Mustapha, Award Recipient Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe (GCON), Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Son of MKO Abiola (Kola), Wife of Gani Fawehinmi (Mrs Ganiyat), and Former Governor Bola Tinubu at the Special National Honours Investiture at the State House Conference Centre on June 12, 2018.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday formally conferred a posthumous national honour of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election.

The President also honoured Abiola’s running mate in the election, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, and late respected human rights activist, Gani Fawahinmi, with the national award of Grand Commander of the Niger (GCON).

READ ALSO: Buhari Apologises To MKO Abiola’s Family On Behalf Of Nigerian Government

The ceremony, which held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, comes 25 years after Nigeria held an election which is recognised as the freest in its history, and presumably won by Abiola.

Kingibe was present to receive the award in person while Abiola’s son, Kola, as well as Fawehinmi’s widow, Ganiyat, received the awards on behalf of the deceased.

In his speech at the event, President Buhari apologised to the Abiola family and others who lost their loved ones to the June 12 struggle.

Buhari Officially Confers GCFR Title On MKO Abiola

He said, “On behalf of the Federal Government, I tender the nation’s apology to the family of late MKO Abiola, who got the highest vote [in the election], and to those that lost their loved ones in the course of the June 12 struggle.”

Also present at the event were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, Professor Wole Soyinka, as well as former Governor Bola Tinubu, among other dignitaries.

See highpoints of the event in the pictures below;

Buhari’s Full Speech At Special National Honours Investiture For Abiola, Others

Buhari’s Full Speech At Special National Honours Investiture For Abiola, Others
President Muhammadu Buhari with Professor Wole Soyinka, SGF Boss Mustapha, Award Recipient Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe (GCON), Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Son of MKO Abiola (Kola), Wife of Gani Fawehinmi (Mrs Ganiyat), and Former Governor Bola Tinubu at the Special National Honours Investiture at the State House Conference Centre on June 12, 2018.

 

REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY MUHAMMADU BUHARI PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE COMMEMORATION AND INVESTITURE HONOURING THE HEROES OF JUNE 12, 1993.

TUESDAY, 12TH JUNE, 2018.

Today, I am very happy to be present and to preside over the Commemoration and Investiture, marking the formal official Federal Government recognition of June 12 as National Democracy Day.

READ ALSO: It’s Impossible To Honour Abiola And Admire His Tormentor, Soyinka Tells Buhari

The decision and this event is not meant to be and is not an attempt to open old wounds but to put right a national wrong. Nigerians of their own free will voted for Late Chief MKO Abiola and Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, the Presidential flag bearer and running mate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the 1993 elections.

The Government of the day inexplicably cancelled the elections when it was clear who were going to be the winners.

We cannot rewind the past, but we can at least assuage our feelings; recognize that a wrong has been committed and resolve to stand firm now and in the future for the sanctity of free elections. Nigerians would no longer tolerate such perversion of justice.

This retrospective and posthumous recognition is only a symbolic token of redress and recompense for the grievous injury done to the peace and unity of our country.

Special National Honours Investiture For Abiola, Others In Pictures

President Muhammadu Buhari with Kola Abiola at the Special National Honours Investiture at the State House Conference Centre on June 12, 2018.

 

Our decision to recognize and honour June 12 and its actors is in the national interest. It is aimed at setting national healing process and reconciliation of the 25-year festering wound caused by the annulment of the June 12th elections. I earnestly invite all Nigerians across all our national divide to accept it in good faith.

Our action today is to bury the negative side of June 12, the side of ill-feelings, hate, frustrations and agony. What we are doing is celebrating and appreciating the positive side of June 12. The June 12, which restate democracy and freedom.

The June 12 that overcome our various divides and the June 12 that produced 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’s apology to the family of Late MKO Abiola, who got the highest votes and to those that lost their loved ones in the cause of June 12 struggle.

At this juncture, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like everybody present to stand and observe a minute silence in honour of the memory of Chief MKO Abiola and Chief Fawehinmi and indeed all those who lost their lives in the struggle of June 12, 1993.

Thank you all and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

All Those Who Betrayed Abiola Should Also Apologise – Shehu Sani

 

The Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial district, Mr Shehu Sani, has asked that all those who betrayed the late Moshood Kashimawo Abiola in the June 12, 1993 presidential election should apologise to his family, as well as Nigerians.

Mr Sani who made an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday, said this in reaction to President Buhari’s apology.

Earlier on the same day, the President had apologised to the family of the acclaimed winner of the 1993 presidential election, Chief Abiola, at the special investiture and national honours awards held in honour of him and other heroes of the nation.

He tendered the apology on behalf of Nigerians and everyone involved in the struggle for democracy, after the election was annulled.

While Mr Shehu appreciated the move, he called on all those involved in the annulment of the election to also apologise.

“The president’s apology is on behalf of the whole country. Not just to the family, but to everyone who voted for Abiola.

“But there is also the need for those who had a hand in that annulment to also apologise and also, the political class that betrayed Abiola, because right now the issue is at the front burner but we know very well that in the last 25 years, there were people who ate and drank with Abiola and at the end of the day, ended up betraying him”.

Speaking further, he explained that the award was not a surprise to him as he had always known President Buhari to be a supporter June 12 mandate.

“It didn’t come to me as a surprise because from all I know from history, President Muhammadu Buhari, as far back as 1994, has always been a supporter of the restoration of the June 12 mandate.

“But what happened today with the investiture and also the apology, is an appreciation of the struggle, the sacrifice and the service of Nigerians who laid down their lives and liberty in the struggle for freedom and restoration of MKO’s mandate,” he said.

When asked if the President’s actions had political undertones, Sani said, “Yes, there are political motives to that when you have such events taking place only few months to the next election.

“But as Nigerians, as people who fought and struggled, we will take the gift and reject the political motive attached to it”.

Also, when asked if the president’s actions were an indication that he had officially become a democratic convert, considering his military background, the senator explained that an award from a government was not enough to declare him a convert to democracy.

He said, “there are principles, standards and indices to which a Democrat should conform itself to”.

June 12: Lagos Govt. Unveils Statue Of MKO Abiola

 

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday, unveiled a statue of the late politician, Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, as part of activities to mark the June 12 celebrations.

The date which has remained synonymous with Abiola, following his efforts in the fight for Nigeria’s freedom and democracy, has been celebrated annually across states in the country for the past 25 years.

Described as the freest and fairest election in the nation’s history, this year’s celebration of the day was, however, symbolic.

President Muhammadu Buhari officially conferred an award of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential election – MKO – while also honouring other heroes of Nigeria’s democratic struggle.

Across some states, the day was marked as a public holiday in memory of Mr Abiola.

In Lagos state, a lecture as well as the unveiling of the statue which is situated at the Ojota area of Lagos, were one of the highlights of the celebration.

Among those present were the Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, his wife, Bolanle, wife of late Chief M.K.O Abiola, Dr Doyinsola Abiola; Chairman, June 12 Coalition, Comrade Linus Okoroji; and Deputy Governor, Dr (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule.

Others were former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Otunba Femi Pedro and children of the late businessman.

See photos below.