President Muhammadu Buhari sparked fireworks in the polity Wednesday when he announced June 12 as the date for the new Democracy Day celebrations in the country.
The president didn’t stop at that, a she also conferred a posthumous GCFR title on the presumed winner of June 12, 1993, presidential election, Moshood Abiola.
Taking to Twitter, Bhari wrote: “In the view of Nigerians, as shared by this Administration, June 12, 1993, was and is far more symbolic of Democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29, or even October 1,”
President Buhari also conferred a national honour on Baba Gana Kingibe, Abiola’s running mate in the botched poll, and recognised late Gani Fawehinmi for his role in the actualisation of the June 12 elections with a posthumous GCON Award.
While the merit of the president’s decisions can’t be disputed, Nigerians have been split as to the timing of the move and the overriding motive behind it.
The Peoples Democratic Party unsurprisingly slammed Buhari as being desperate and looking to score political points off Abiola, while others wonder how Buhari, who’s never hidden his admiration for the Late Gen Sani Abacha, could seriously honour Abiola who was traduced by the late dictator.
Here are some of the more interesting reactions to the president’s declaration, first, from those who welcome the move…
The real democracy day at last when Nigerians were just citizens not Hausa, Yoruba or Igbo.
— Haruna Muazu (@harunamuazu) June 6, 2018
I retweeted Buhari's tweet cheerfully and proudly for the first time in a long time. He terminated the age-long conspiracy to twist our political history by those who imposed an artificial democracy day that only fits well in Obasanjo's autobiography
— Abimbola (@beambini) June 6, 2018
Gani Fawehinmi to receive posthumous honour alongside Abiola and Kingibe on June 12, our new Democracy Day as announced by the federal government today. This is a commendable recognition.
— Gimba Ibn Aliyu Kakanda Al-Nigeri (@gimbakakanda) June 6, 2018
Declaring June 12 as Democracy Day has always been the right thing to do. Chief MKO Abiola sacrificed it all for the Democracy we are currently practicing in this country. He was voted for by all. This feat is for us all, not Yorubas alone.
— Bhadmus Hakeem (@Bhadoosky) June 6, 2018
Chief MKO Abiola gave his life for Nigeria. He won an election, free and fair, but was cheated. Today’s decision is a great one. May Chief MKO Abiola’s soul continue to rest in peace.
— Dr. Dipo Awojide (@OgbeniDipo) June 6, 2018
June 12 declared as Democracy Day. Finally, Chief MKO Abiola got his well deserved recognition.
This is not about the Yorubas. This is celebration of a National Hero who won a free and fair election but was cheated.
— Wale Adetona (@iSlimfit) June 6, 2018
And then, from the many who see it as a desperate political ploy…
Honouring MKO Abiola and June 12 is long overdue and a welcome development but it is only in line with the pretentious nature of Buhari and the APC.
Any person who is deceived with this was deceived long before this: the gift is accepted but the giver is a fraud and rejected.
— Demola Olarewaju (@DemolaRewaju) June 6, 2018
This is actually brilliant from Buhari FC. Making MKO Abiola a post humous GCFR some months to the election, so as to win the South-West.
He shouldn’t waste his time with the South-east and South-south tho, we aren’t easily fooled.
— Cross˚ (@Elcrucifixio) June 6, 2018
The posthumous grant of the rank of GCFR on Chief MKO Abiola & the recognition of June 12 as democracy day is commendable move by @MBuhari. I commend it.
However, it's difficult not to see this for what it is. A desperate political move aimed at wooing voters in the South West.
— Igala_King (@i_am_Anomeli) June 7, 2018
Declaring June 12 as democracy day in honour of late MKO is a commendable one albeit it doesn't put food on my table or change the economy of Nigeria but it's /he's part of our history. …note of warning : DON'T BE FOOLED YORUBA! !YORUBA ROONU O
— JustMe! (@ogunrinolamicha) June 6, 2018
Yoruba people are funny. They malign Ojukwu all the time. Let someone come for their tainted heroes like Awolowo and MKO ABiola and they start bleating like crazed goats.
— Baṣọ̀run Gáà (@Oddy4real) June 7, 2018
The only Buhari way can honour MKO Abiola is to stop being undemocratic.
You be part of the killing of a man and now come back to use him for politics.
— Lere Olayinka – Aresa 1 (@OlayinkaLere) June 6, 2018
One thing is clear…you can’t please everyone.