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2019: June 12 Recognition Will Boost Buhari’s Chance In S’West – Ogunyale

Buhari-honours-Abiola

 

Brown Chimezie

Shina Ogunyale is a lawyer and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC).  He speaks on the posthumous awards bestowed on the winner of June 12 election, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, his running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and others.

 President Muhammadu Buhari has honoured late Abiola and others in recognition of their role in nurturing the country’s democracy, how would you describe this development?

In my own view, it is a welcome idea. It is long overdue. It is a very good initiative in a good direction. This reminds me of the words of my late mentor; Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) that June 12 is symbolic. May 29 is not symbolic because May 29 is just like October 1st; May 29 is just a mere hand-over day from military to civilian and nothing more.

What made June 12 symbolic was because that was the only day that we had a free and fair election, well-conducted with over 40 million Nigerians across tribe and ethnic divide, went out to elect Abiola as their president. You will agree with me that we have never witnessed that type of election before and even now, an election where Abiola won across all the geopolitical zones. He even won in the hometown of his major contender, Alhaji Bashir Tofa of National Republican Convention (NRC).

The step to recognise June 12 as Democracy Day ought to have been taken since, but Chief Obasanjo may have refused to do this out of petty jealousy for the person of Abiola. Imagine a Yoruba man from the same state as Abiola failing to recognise him, but a Fulani man from Katsina has done it.

But some Nigerians have insinuated that President Buhari took this step for political reason to get the votes from South-West and spite Obasanjo. Do you agree?

I agree with them. In politics, you must be smart to outwit your opponent. That means the opposition is not smart enough to take the right step at the right time. With this, every average Nigerian will vote Buhari for removing shame from their faces. It is a thing of pride to us that our late son has joined the league of past head of state, a thing Obasanjo would have done but couldn’t out of hatred and jealousy.

Come to think of it, (Goodluck) Jonathan tried to immortalise Abiola by naming Unilag after him, but enemies of democracy scuttled that arrangement. In fact, I commended President Buhari for using executive order instead of consultation. Consultation would have run into the same hurdle that ruined Jonathan’s initiative on Abiola. I can assure you that more political moves to lure the South-east, South-south and other geopolitical zone is underway.

Were you surprised that the Late Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) also got an award?

No. The award bestowed on Gani is a well-deserved one. Remember that the award was given to him by the late Yar’Adua and he rejected it. Why? If Abiola had been honoured by Yar’Adua, Gani would have followed suit. So in this case, President Buhari honoured Abiola, Gani and others who fought for democracy and I am sure if Gani was to be alive today, he would accept the award wholeheartedly.

Do you think Kingibe deserves that award?

Looking at his political antecedent, maybe he should not have been honoured but by the virtue of the fact that he was the vice president-elect to Abiola in that election, so automatically he should enjoy all the benefits that go with that office.

But the Southeast is saying, Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, the then electoral umpire should not have been left out of the honour’s list, what’s your take on this matter?

Honestly speaking, Prof.  Nwosu is one of my mentors. Like I said when he was appointed NEC chairman then, I had confidence in his ability to deliver. He deserved to be honoured. We will continue to speak with President Buhari to see the reason why the former NEC boss should be honoured. He didn’t compromise. If he had compromised, he would have stopped the announcement of the result. But he stuck out his neck to announce all the results. For this singular reason, I think he deserves to be recognised. June 12 is symbolic just like Prof. Nwosu. So without him, Abiola’s mandate wouldn’t have been realised.

As the person who organised that election don’t you think IBB too deserves mention?

If there is anything IBB deserve, it is to retrieve the GCFR from him because of his act of cowardice. In many of his interview, he said he annulled the election because of fear of young officers in the military who threatened to kill him if Abiola becomes the president. So such person doesn’t deserve the honour of valour at tall.

Using Agbara Community in Agbara Igbesa LCDA, would you say APC has done well in the past three years?

In fact, I am ashamed to identify myself as APC member in my community because our people are disappointed in the leadership style of Senator Ibikunle Amosu for his gross negligence of Ogun West senatorial district. Today roads are in bad shape and economy of the people in the area has come to a halt.

Is Senator Olamilekan Adeola still in the governorship race?

As a member of APC and a member of Yayi forum, I am telling you that Senator Olamilekan Adeola is in the Ogun governorship race. Recently he addressed his supporters in Abeokuta where he reaffirmed his stance to run for the governorship race in 2019. The news that Yayi is no longer in the race is from detractors and come 2019, he will prove his worth at the poll.   (The Sun)

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Buhari Apologises To MKO Abiola Family |The Republican News

Buhari-honours-Abiola1

 

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, openly apologised to the late Chief MKO Abiola, winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, for the injustice done to him by the Gen. Ibrahim Babangida led military junta.

This is even as he assured that “Nigerians will no longer tolerate such perversion of Justice again.”

The election of June 12, 1993, poll said to be the freest and fairest election in the nation’s history was annulled by the military president, Gen. Babangida.

President Buhari tendered the apology at the investiture of Chief Abiola as Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR) at the State House Conference Centre, the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.

“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,” President Buhari said before getting guests to observe a minute’s silence in honour of those who died.
He said the ceremony was not intended to open old wounds, but to right the wrongs of the past.

According to him, the decision to honour MKO Abiola and to declare June 12 Democracy Day followed years of clamour by the activists, statesmen, groups as well as the family, associates, and friends of the late businessman and politician should be accepted “in good faith” as this will help the nation move forward.

“We cannot rewind the past but we can at least assuage our feelings, recognise that a wrong has been committed and resolve to stand firm now and ease the future for the sanctity of free elections,” he said.

“Nigerians will 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.”

Buhari added that by moving past the negatives of the struggle, Nigerians would be able to fully benefit from June 12.

“Our action today is to bury the negative side of June 12 – side of ill-feelings, hate, frustration, and agony. What we are doing today is celebrating the positive side of June 12,” he said.

“Nigerians, of their own free will, voted for Chief MKO Abiola, and Babagana Kingibe – the presidential flag bearer and running mate of the Social Democratic Party in the 1993 elections.”

He accused the government of the day of cancelling the elections when it was clear who was going to be the winners.

At the event, the late Chief Gani Fawenhinmi and Alhaji Babagana Kingibe were also conferred with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).

Speaking on the Abiola family’s behalf, Hafsat Abiola, one of the daughters of the late icon, who said Buhari’s apology was “very touchy” said the gesture was unexpected considering the relationship that existed behind him and the late Abiola

Hafsat told the audience that Abiola was already rehearsing how to deliver his inauguration speech as the president before the election was annulled.
In an emotion-laden voice, she said her late mother told her how Abiola was standing before a mirror to rehearse his inauguration speech.

“He was born Yoruba but he loved Hausa people, Kanuri, Efik, Igbo people, he loved all, you just needed to be a Nigerian and MKO was your man. If he could help he would do.

There are so many things he already did to show and that was why the people of Nigeria rewarded him with the mandate of June 12, 1993. But we know that he was never able to deliver that speech but in many ways, the event that transpired later revealed to Nigerians the eloquence in his heart, the fidelity of his commitment and even his own deep abiding wish that if there was any way his own actions would in any way compromise the people of Nigeria, MKO preferred to die, he preferred to leave the earth rather than compromise on you, on your integrity as a people and your sovereignty as a nation, which was why even the day before he died when he was still being pressured, he asked the question, how do you shave the people’s heads in their absence? “…And when he died, we accepted his body and have watched in Nigeria as year after year till now, the 25th year, you the people have suffered and he was not recognized at all.

“President Muhammadu Buhari, Nelson Mandela it was who said, ‘It always seems impossible until it is down.’ Who would have ever believed given the relationship that you had with Chief MKO Abiola that you would be the instrument God will use to honour this man and to bring recognition and healing to the country.

“You apologised to my family and it touched my heart. You know that I also lost my mother in this struggle; so that apology meant so much. Let me use this opportunity, on behalf of the Chief MKO Abiola because I know what he would have done, I use this opportunity to apologise to you, to apologise to your family, anything that he might have done to harm you and to harm your family,” Hafsat said.

Also speaking, Kola Abiola, the first son of the business mogul said the Abiola family accepted both the award and the apology.

“We thank you for taking the decisive measures to strengthen our democracy and guarantee our future by reconciling our past,” he said.

Chief Abiola’s running mate, Kingibe, said by recognising June 12, Buhari has contributed the noblest chapter to the checkered history of Nigeria’s nationhood.
Kingibe recalled Abiola as a man of great wit and persuasive powers, full of energy and a great philanthropist truly committed to improving the lot of the poor masses.

Also responding, Muhammed, the son of Fawehinmi, human rights activist and legal icon described Buhari as the first sensitive and reasonable head of state to have listened to the people and acted accordingly. “Today is symbolic because it shows the entrenchment of unity all citizens of this country regardless of your tribe, ethnic background, religious beliefs because we are all Nigerians.”

Stop eulogising Abiola’s tormentors – Soyinka

Also, Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka lauded President Buhari’s apology to the late Abiola as a bold step, saying he least expected the president to do so. He, however, admonished him to stop admiring and displaying loyalty to a man he tagged late MKO Abiola’s “Tormentor-in-Chief.”

Buhari had last month eulogised the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, who clamped the business mogul in jail for about five years, for working to provide roads, education and healthcare.

He wondered why President Buhari will continue to display loyalty to a man he described as “one of the worst dictators in the history of the country.”

“Mr President since we are honouring heroes of democracy today, I 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. 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 one who broke the laws of Nigeria, international laws, pauperised this nation. It is confusing if professional loyalty is carried so far as to be accorded such an individual.”

Soyinka also canvassed for the extension of recognition to others who took part in the June 12 struggle which culminated in the present civil rule.

“All that is left to me is to plead so that we do not forget the nameless, the unsung heroes and heroines of that struggle. A number of names have already been listed but I will like to include one of the pioneers, the instigators of the physical confrontations with that dictator, Comrade Ola Oni, who mobilised a number of people and fought the goons and slaves and surrogates of that dictator in that auspiciously named stadium in Ibadan, Liberty Stadium.  But above all, I want us always to remember that individual which we are principally celebrating today, the man who reappeared and represented himself, who did not understand the word surrender, saying my name is Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, I am back to reclaim my mandate.”  (The Sun)

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June 12: Stop Showing Loyalty To Abiola’s ‘Tormentor-in-Chief’, Soyinka Tells Buhari

Wole-Soyinka
                  Prof. Wole Soyinka

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to stop admiring and displaying loyalty to an unnamed individual whom he referred to late MKO Abiola’s “Tormentor-in-Chief.”

Some are of the opinion that he had referred to the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, who clamped the business mogul to jail for about five years.

Abiola died in prison.

Although Soyinka did not mention Abacha’s name specifically, the Nobel laureate said it was confusing for Buhari to honour Chief Moshood Abiola on the one hand and be admiring the late politician’s “Tormentor-in-Chief” on the other.

He wondered why President Buhari will continue to display loyalty to a man he described as “one of the worst dictators in the history of the country” and who should be having his days in court for crime against humanity.

Soyinka said that in a private meeting with Buhari, he had also raised concerns over how the President could be saying his administration was fighting corruption, whereas a major road in the Federal Capital Territory is named after a “corrupt former leader.”

He said he was not satisfied with the response he got from Buhari.

He called on the President to consider establishing a Hall of Shame for those who have wronged the country, just as he puts up Hall of Fame for the nation’s heroes. (Punch)

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June 12: I’ll Work For Your Re-election, Tinubu Promises Buhari |RN

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Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

A national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said President Muhammadu Buhari deserved a second term and that he would work for his victory in the 2019 presidential election.

While highlighting some of Buhari’s achievements, Tinubu claimed that Nigerians are no longer paying for darkness, giving an indication that electricity supply has become stable under the present administration.

He also lauded Buhari for the school feeding programme, a component of the government’s Social Investment Programme.  (Punch)

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June 12: I’ll Sue Buhari If He Confers National Honours On Abiola, Others – Ardo

Nobody can buy Yoruba race –Lamido • It’s Greek gift –IPOB

Ismail Omipidan; Billy Graham Abel; Yola and Geoffry Anyanwu, Awka

Former adviser to former vice president Atiku Abubakar, Umar Ardo, has described the planned conferment of national honours on the late MKO Abiola, Babagana Kingibe and Gani Fawehinmi as illegal.

He vowed to institute a court action to demand compliance with the provisions of the constitution in the award of the said national honours if the government goes ahead with the investiture ceremony without abiding by the due process of law.

“It is important, however, to state that I have absolutely no objection to the president conferring such national honours on the late Chief MKO Abiola and Chief Gani Fawehinmi, and indeed that they richly deserve such awards and much more, but it is only right to do the right thing rightly.  My current call and possible court action are solely motivated by the obligation to enforce the rule of law and constitutionalism in the process of governing this country,” Umar Ardo explained.

Citing from the Constitution, he pointed out that President Muhammdu Buhari has no power to confer national honours on anyone without first seeking for and obtaining the approval of the National Council of State.

Ardo, in statement yesterday, said: “Pursuant to the powers of the Council of State in section 6(a)(iii) of Part 1 to the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) to advise the president on the matter of awarding national honours, I call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately convene a meeting of the National Council of State to deliberate and advise him on his decision to award national honours to the late Chief MKO Abiola, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and Chief Gani Fawehinmi before performing the planned investiture ceremony on Tuesday. This is simply to comply with due process of law.”

To determine whether the president’s decision to confer the said national awards followed due process of law, Ardo said he telephoned and asked a former president and a serving member of the Council of State whether the issue had at any time been raised in any of the meetings of the Council of State and the advice of the said Council sought and obtained.

“He informed me and I verily believe him, that it was never ever raised nor the advice of the Council ever sought or obtained. Therefore, to go ahead and perform the investiture ceremony as planned is to indulge in flagrant illegality.”
According to him, having campaigned on, sworn-in and is on oath to govern the country in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and due process of law and to defend and protect the said constitution, the president cannot confer national awards on Abiola, Kingibe, Fawehinmi or anyone else without subjecting his decision to the advice of the Council of State as stipulated in the constitution.  To do so is a breach not only of the constitution but also of the oath sworn to by the president and that is unacceptable,” he said.

Meanwhile, former National Secretary of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP), the platform that produced late Chief Abiola as the winner of the June 1993 presidential contest, Alhaji Sule Lamido, has cautioned against making political capital out of the June 12 struggle.

This is even as he said the Yoruba race is a unique one that cannot be easily bought over, “with a pot of porridge,” insisting that there was nothing anyone could do to placate the Yoruba race politically when the issues centre on the late Chief Abiola and former president, Olusegun Obasanjo.

According to him, regardless of what anyone does, the Yoruba race would always remember the role played by the newspaper owned by the late Abiola to “denigrate, demonised and exposed” late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. In the same vein, he said the Yoruba race is yet to forgive Obasanjo for not handing over to Awolowo in 1979.
“So when you people say ‘Oh, it would placate the Yoruba,’ I asked how? The Yoruba people are too politically sophisticated to be placated with a pot of porridge or something,” Lamido said.

Speaking in an interview with Daily Sun, Lamido, a former Foreign Affairs minister, described June 12 as a story of the high power play, treachery and political civil war.

“Let me, however, add that, if the government declares him the winner of the election, they should pay him all his entitlements, including the N45 billion debts which they owe him. They said the reason they annulled the election was because of the huge debts they owed him,”Lamido said.

However, the Indigenous People of Biafra, yesterday, described President Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day and conferment of highest national honour on Chief Abiola as a Greek gift.

IPOB said the move of Buhari was cynical, insisting that it was not for good that he had to make such pronouncement a few months to the general elections.

The group in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, urged  Nigerians, especially the people of South-West, to view the president’s pronouncement with circumspection.
IPOB stressed that Buhari’s move was specifically designed to destroy the glowing handshake across the Niger wherein the South-East and South-West geopolitical zones had made “formidable progress” to change the old order of northern oligarchy.

“It’s  a cynical move designed to truncate any East/West alliance or understanding with regards to a renegotiated Nigeria before 2019.”

“IPOB is the authentic voice of the people of the East, their next best move is to gain the confidence of the West in order to checkmate the rising influence of those that have come to forge an alliance strong enough to rattle the status quo,” the group said,

IPOB expressed confidence that the people of  South-West would be able to “detonate Buhari’s time bomb due to their high level of education.” (The Sun)

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