Muhammadu Buhari, the President of Nigeria has apologised the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993, Presidential election, MKO Abiola, for his travails after the election.
The President gave the apology in Abuja on Tuesday after conferring the title, Grand Commander Of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Abiola.
“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.
President Buhari called on Nigerians to accept the decision to honour the heroes of June 12 “in good faith” and help the nation move forward from the divisive aspects of the annulment of the elections and the events that followed.
“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.”
According to the President 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.
On June 6, 2018, President Buhari declared June 12 Nigeria’s new Democracy Day and announced that Abiola, and his running mate Babagana Kingibe, as well as human rights activist Gani Fawehinmi, would be honoured along with other heroes of democracy.
“The decision at this event is not mean to be, and is not, an attempt to open old wounds but to put right a national wrong,” he said.
‘Nigerians, of their own free will, voted for MKO Abiola, and Babagana Kingibe – the presidential flag bearer and running mate of the Social Democratic Party in the 1993 elections.”