President Muhammadu Buhari earlier today apologised to the family of the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale 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 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.
The president Buhari added that it is important for Nigerians to accept the decision to honour Abiola “in good faith” and 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.
“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.
“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.
This comes after Buahri on June 6, 2018, 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.
Many questioned the motive behind the move, with the presidential elections months away and particularly, seeing as Buhari hasn’t hidden his admiration for late dictator, Gen Sani Abacha, who incarcerated Abiola.
Buhari’s latest apology has elicited mixed reactions from Nigerians on social media…
i must confess. I love my President. A sincere show of emotions and the apology to the family of MKO Abiola wow-that was classic. Abuse me if you want, but I truly admire my President, Muhammadu Buhari
— Iyabo Arinola Awokoya (@iyaboawokoya) June 12, 2018
History will be kind to you President @MBuhari for this, A Fulani man doing what we begged and begged our own "brother" to do for us 8years, A National struggle that he massively benefited from .. #June12 #DemocracyDay #MKOabiola pic.twitter.com/Dv24vOlPrF
— Jubril A. Gawat (@Mr_JAGs) June 12, 2018
“You cannot honour Abiola in one breath and admire his tormentor (Abacha) in another breath.” Prof Soyinka speaking to Buhari.
See, more than most, Soyinka is the conscience of #Nigeria.
— Chxta (@Chxta) June 12, 2018
You touched my hear when you even apologized to our family because of the annulment. You touched my heart. On behalf of MKO Abiola Family too, I apologize to you to forgive and forget what My Dad must have done to you too. Thank You Your Excellency….."
— Ayekooto (@DeeOneAyekooto) June 12, 2018
All of a sudden Nigerians have forgotten been called lazy Nigerian youths, forgotten about SARS , lies about boko Haram kidnapping, fulani herdsmen killing, the economy recession, the fuel hike in prices….all because of some cheap MKO Abiola move.
We are cursed in this country
— a wallflower (@joe_isei) June 12, 2018
I don't understand how Buhari can honor Abiola and still speak highly of Abacha…
Is this schizophrenia or what?…#June12
— NIGERIAN FIA?? (@Prodigy_FIA) June 12, 2018
On this 25th anniversary of the annulled June 12, 1993 election, I urge Nigerians to study how loyally Muhammadu @Buhari was looking at Abacha. It was the look of love! At the moment this photo was taken, Abiola was in Abacha’s gulag and Buhari was serving him as PTF Chairman! pic.twitter.com/OX5bLq6Ng2
— Reno Omokri (@renoomokri) June 12, 2018
political apology ba.
— Tim Fom (@tim_fom) June 12, 2018
He must tender same apology to Fela Kuti's family too….if and only if he is no longer a dictator!
— Dr-Dxzeal (@DxZeal) June 12, 2018