Buhari Honours Abiola, Declares June 12 Democracy Day

Buhari Honours Abiola, Declares June 12 Democracy Day

…..Senate, Tinubu, Governors, Activists Applaud Move In a dramatic deft move smirking of some desire to be in synch with the protracted struggle particularly in the Southwest of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has declared June 12 Democracy Day in place of May 29th. His government is also to confer the highest award in the country,

…..Senate, Tinubu, Governors, Activists Applaud Move

In a dramatic deft move smirking of some desire to be in synch with the protracted struggle particularly in the Southwest of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has declared June 12 Democracy Day in place of May 29th.

His government is also to confer the highest award in the country, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) posthumously to the presumed winner of June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, Bashorun Mohood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola. “In the view of Nigerians, as shared by this administration, June 12, 1993 is far more symbolic of Democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29th or even the October 1st”, he said.

“June 12, 1993 was the day when Nigerians in millions expressed their democratic will in what was undisputably the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections since our independence. The fact that the outcome of that election was not upheld by the then military government does not distract from the democratic credentials of that process”

“Accordingly after due consultations, the Federal Government has decided that henceforth, June 12th will be celebrated as democracy day”…

Apart from honouring Abiola who contested on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Buhari also stated that his running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe would also bag Grand Commander of the Niger (GCON). The government further decided that the “tireless fighter for human rights and the actualization of the June 12th elections and indeed for democracy in general”, the late Chief Gani Fawhinmi (SAN) would also be conferred with GCON.

“The Commemoration and investiture will take place on Tuesday. June 12th, 2018. A day which in future will replace may 29th as a national public holiday in celebration of Nigeria democracy day”, Buhari said. Many chieftains of the SDP, family members of the recipient and other pro-democracy activists like Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, Human Rights Lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) and the former Lagos State Governor, Chief Bola Tinubu have been invited to the event slated for Aso Rock Villa, Abuja,

While some perceive the President’s gesture as some political masterstroke to win back the support of the people of the southwest who have become alienated from a government perceived to be more tilted towards the interest of the north, others including governors, party leaders and other activists have generally welcomed this as some refreshing move to heal the wounds of the past.

In its motion endorsing Buhari’s move, the Senate not only asked the Independent National Electoral Commission to release the results of the June 12, 1993 presidential election but urged the President to pay all Abiola’s entitlements to his family. “I am sure that all of us , in one way or the other, have had the opportunity to interact with Abiola and we felt that the country has not given him and his family the recognition that they truly deserve. Let us leave it that Chief MKO Abiola represented all of us”, said Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

Mr Frank Kokori, former general secretary, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) said the day June 12 was declared national Democracy Day was the happiest day of his life.. He said

this would go a long way in deepening the people’s faith in the country.

“This declaration is not an ordinary one. It is going to encourage Nigerians to contribute selflessly to the social, political and economic emancipation of their country”, Kokori said. “No matter what anyone may say, President Muhammadu Buhari has, through this act, restored hope of Nigerians in Nigeria,” he said.

“Ordinarily, one would have expected such a national service to come from former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who himself went to prison, though for slightly a different reason.“But here we are and when all hopes were seemingly lost, someone came and did justice to the struggle”.

“I cannot claim personal glory for roles played during the struggle in spite of countless tribulations, but the honour goes to NUPENG, and the union will come out with official reaction to this landmark gesture,” he said.

In his statement, Tinubu who also applauded Buhari, said the decision “will forever memorialize the sacrifices made by these patriots who gave of themselves in service of such a noble and rightful purpose”.

“Along with all democratic and fair-minded Nigerians, I welcome the news that June 12 will replace May 29 as Democracy Day. I too applaud President Muhammadu Buhari for making this courageous and rightful decision.

This is good news for democracy and a proud moment for Nigeria”.

“While it is impossible to go back in time and change the past, we must do our utmost to correct the wrongs of the past. This is what President Buhari has done by this decision. He has shown all Nigerians and the world that we have the moral fortitude to objectively face our history, learn from it and improve our society by virtue of this learning.

June 12, more than any other day, symbolises the struggles and sacrifices made by countless Nigerians to establish democracy as our way of national governance”, he said.


Continuing, Tinubu said, “Chief MKO Abiola and others gave their lives that we might have democracy, that the will of the people would be sovereign and not suppressed by the will of the few.

This proclamation by President Buhari will forever memorialize the sacrifices made by these patriots who gave themselves in service of such a noble and rightful purpose.

The award of GCFR to Chief Abiola serves as an acknowledgement that he won the 1993 election and should have been allowed to serve as our president after winning that free and fair expression of the popular will.


“We also commend the award to MKO Abiola’s VP candidate, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, and that given to Chief Gani Fawehinmi.

Chief Fawehinmi was a fearless advocate for democracy and the human rights of the common man. Whenever and wherever he spoke, it was the language of truth to power.

The designation of June 12 as Democracy Day is the fulfilment of the dream and efforts of many of us”.


“Today, the sun shines a bit more brightly. The sound of democracy peals more resolutely across the land. The sacrifices of Chief Abiola and others have been affirmed by the federal government he once should have led. Democracy has been given its proper seat and day. History has been corrected to the extent humanly possible. Nigeria continues to define its better self.

Of this new Democracy Day and what it symbolises, we all should be equally proud”, He stated.

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode , in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, lauded the President, saying that the development was a historic and symbolic moment in the nation’s political trajectory.

“This is a welcome development. It is a historic moment in our nation and I join other Nigerians to commend President Buhari on this announcement. By this move, he has done what previous administrations failed to do. This not only shows that the President is a man of history and character but also eloquently confirms that the heroes of democracy did not die in vain after all,” Ambode said.

Also echoing this view, Governor Mohammed Bindow of Adamawa State said that the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day by President Muhammadu Buhari marked the celebration of national unity.

The governor, who spoke through Mr Martins Dickson, his Special Assistant on Press and Media Affairs, commended Buhari for deeming it fit to symbolise the day as the democracy day. He said that the decision by the President after wide consultation was in the right direction.

According to him, the declaration is long overdue.

” This declaration is worth it and long overdue; I will commend our President for taking such a good decision. There have been a lot of agitations as to which day should be declared as democracy day, but Mr President in his wisdom, chose June 12”.

“This day symbolises the freest and most acceptable election in the history of our nation and that further symbolises our national unification. As a lover of democracy who wants the tenets and democratic principles to be enshrined in our culture, I support the declaration,” Bindow said.

The wide jubilations also reverberated in Abiola’s home state, Ogun where the government, in a statement, expressed gratitude to the President for conferring “the most prestigious award” on Abiola, who was said to have won the election considered the freest and fairest in the nation’s political history.

A statement by Mr Taiwo Adeoluwa, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), commended Buhari, describing him as a man who believes in justice.

It said that though some people might believe  that the honour came a bit late, it was still a welcome development.

“Although, this posthumous award may appear to some people to have come late, we thank the President.

“We urge all lovers of democracy and goodwill to continue to support the ideals for which Chief M. K. O Abiola lived and died.

“ For us in Ogun State, we shall not forget Bashorun M. K. O. Abiola,” the statement read.

Former Senator representing  Ogun East, Mr Adegbenga Kaka,  said the honour done Abiola was   long overdue, adding that his  sacrifices resulted in  the dividends of democracy being  enjoyed by Nigerians today.

He, however,  said beyond the award,  more should be done to immortalise Abiola’s name  while a national monument should be named after him.

The former lawmaker applauded Buhari for the gesture while also praying for more wisdom “to do what is right.’’

“Beyond the award, there should be a formal pronouncement recognising him as President so that it will be on record forever. We’re still expecting the immortalisation of his name and a national monument named after him,” Kaka said.

Mr Olakunle Olumo, the Deputy Speaker of Ogun State House of Assembly, also commended  the President for “eventually declaring June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day celebration.’’

The deputy speaker who implored every Nigerian to applaud the declaration of the President, explained that the honour done MKO Abiola and Chief Gani Fawehinmi for their contributions to the enthronement  democracy in Nigeria was a sign that the government meant well for the nation.


“The decision would be a great relief  to the family that at least the man did not die in vain.

It does not matter if it has anything to do with 2019 election, any decision by a sitting President or a Governor or anyone that is elected is read into a political realm.

“Any political decision that serves people right, that meets the aspiration of  the people should be encouraged.  It doesn’t remove the right of citizens to vote for the candidate of their  choice. It is a decision that will encourage Nigerians to always fight for their  rights and stand by the truth always, even if they are not recognised while they were living. Somebody will come and recognise them later. Don’t forget, part of our national anthem says the Labour of Our Heroes Past Shall Never Be In Vain, and that is what the President has just done,” he said.

Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, president, Women Arise for Change Initiative (WA), said: “We accept these honours no matter how belated because we and other Nigerians have campaigned around these issues over the years.”

She said June 12 could not be forgotten so fast by Nigerians because it was the day Nigerians freely elected a President in the freest and fairest election.

The rights activist prayed that the spirit of June 12 would take firm root in Nigeria future elections.

““It is our wish that the essential spirit of June 12 takes firm root in our land with free and fair election and become a norm in our land. From the Ekiti elections scheduled for July 14 and the general elections in 2019. That is the moment the spirits of Abiola and all martyrs of June 12 will forgive Nigeria’’. She said.

Alhaji Balarabe Musa, former governor of old Kaduna State, said Buhari’s action had given Nigerians renewed hope.

“President Buhari’s action with regards to declaration of June 12 as democracy day and award of the highest honour to late Chief MKO Abiola are relevant, just, courageous and patriotic.

“The actions give hope that President Buhari can do the right thing and correct wrongs before it’s too late for him and for the nation”, said Musa who’s also national chairman of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).

Posts Carousel

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Latest Posts

Top Authors

Most Commented

Featured Videos