Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, and the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have praised President Muhammadu Buhari over the posthumous award of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) conferred on the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola.
Fayose said it was commendable for Buhari to have conferred the title of GCFR on him.
He however urged the president to go a step further by declaring Abiola winner of the poll and president-elect, adding that only then would the title so conferred have constitutional backing.
The state governor, who made the remarks in a press briefing with journalists at the government house in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, he said: â€œThe honour done to Abiola by President Buhari is a welcome development. We thank the president, and even though we know it is for political reasons, we see it as a step in the right direction.
â€œWe urge President Buhari to go to the next level and declare Abiola the President of Nigeria, because he won the election, but the then dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) denied Nigerians that victory and the opportunity to have Abiola as our president.
â€œHaving realised that they goofed, they have come out to right the wrong. Besides, you canâ€™t keep such title of
GCFR without being the president of Nigeria, therefore, the president should be courageous enough by declaring the results of the election and declare Abiola the winner of the June 12, 1993, poll. This is a lesson that what you do today will be reference point for others tomorrow.
â€œWe condemn the annulment of the June12 presidential poll results; brutality of Nigerians who protested against it; election rigging; brute force and manipulations during elections.â€
Meanwhile, the APC has also applauded Buhari for declaring June 12 Nigeriaâ€™s Democracy Day to replace May 29.
Reacting in a statement in Ado-Ekiti by the party Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, the party praised Buhari for displaying a rare courage to address the nagging question on the relevance of June 12 election in Nigeriaâ€™s democratic credentials.
â€œAbiola is adjudged the winner and hero of our democracy for standing against the jackboots of the military dictators and paying the supreme price for being a resolute democrat.
â€œAbiola won the freest and fairest election without religious and tribal sentiments in the history of electoral process and democratisation in Nigeria, but most unfortunately the conspiracy of the same capitalism agents that truncated Nigeriansâ€™ dream to have the late Abiola as the president are now in Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who benefited and assumed the control of our national government on the strength of June 12 symbolic history , struggle, and sacrifice.
â€œToday, we are happy that another hero of democracy without tribal sentiment, who is also a progressive leader, President Buhari, has demonstrated integrity by not only honouring this fact of history, but has also done honour to the hero of democracy, who sacrificed his life to ensure that democracy establishes root in Nigeria,â€ he said.