Exploiting Abiola’s name for 2019 elections will splash oil on the pearl, says Nigerian senator

Shehu Sani, senator representing Kaduna-central, has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for conferring the honour of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on late MKO Abiola, presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 election.

Buhari, who announced the development on Wednesday, said June 12 will replace May 29 as democracy day.

He also said Baba Gana Kingibe, Abiola’s running mate during the election, and Gani Fawehinmi, one of Nigeria’s foremost rights activist, now late, are also to be conferred with Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).

Different reactions have trailed the president’s move since the announcement, with many questioning his motive.

Commenting on the news, Sani, in a statement on Saturday, said Buhari had done “what many of his predecessors failed to do.”

He, however, added that the timing of the award gives room for concerns that the move has a political undertone.

He also faulted some names that made it to the list of persons invited by the president to Abiola’s GCFR inauguration.

“The recognition accorded to Chief MKO Abiola and the June 12 struggle by the PMB administration is commendable. It’s long overdue. PMB has done what many of his predecessors failed to do,” Sani said.

“However, the timing of the recognition in an election year raised issues that the recognition was not without motive. It is a Golden box of honour containing a note of electoral expectation from the South west.

“Honoring June 12 is appreciated but exploiting Abiola’s name for 2019 election will splash oil on the pearl.

“Some of those invited and honored by the villa in the name Abiola or June 12 were people who betrayed Abiola and abandoned the struggle even when chief MKO was alive, others even disowned, condemned and denied him in his hours of need. There are judases of June 12 now honoured in the name of Abiola”.

Sani said the recognition of the democracy heroes was not enough, adding that the government must live up to the ideals of the honourees.

He also said the south-west should not base their votes for Buhari in 2019 on the honour the president granted Abiola.

He urged the government to intensify its efforts to put an end to the wanton killings across the country, and “rid itself of budding autocratic tendencies.”

“The greatest honour the government can do to the spirit of June 12 is to habitually respect the rights of Nigerians to differ and to dissent without persecution, obey court orders and prosecute the war against corruption without discrimination,” he said.

“Honoring democracy heroes will make no meaning if we don’t live up to the principles and noble ideals they were identified with and upon which they lived and sacrificed their lives for.

“Honoring Chief MKO Abiola and the June 12 struggle shouldn’t be the only reason the south west or any other part of Nigeria should re elect the Present Government; the government must strive hard to end the mindless bloodshed and violence in the country and must respect the rule of law and rid itself of budding autocratic tendencies.

“There is the need for the National Democratic Coallition, NADECO to reconvene immediately to guide the President and the Parliament on how best to honour the June 12 struggle, to avoid the coronation of traitors along with heroes.”

– The Cable

About Delia Innoma

Delia Innoma is a prolific writer, promoter, artist manager with full professional proficiency in English, German and Igbo languages. She studied accounting and computer programming at the Institute of Management and Technology Enugu and Germany respectively. Delia is also a devoted mother of two and she founded the Diamond Celebrities Magazine. Her sense of responsibility and commitment to the Christian faith are essential forces driving her daily activities.

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