President Muhammadu Buhari has apologised to the families of the late Chief Moshood Abiola for the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election. The president stated this yesterday while conferring the country’s highest national honours of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Abiola, believed to have won the 1993 presidential election, at an investiture ceremony held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Buhari’s apology aroused emotional instability as personalities wept openly at the event. The unexpected tendering of the apology by the president to the Abiola family took many of the guests by surprise and thus could not control their emotions.
Abiola’s running mate in the election, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and renowned legal practitioner and activist, the late Chief Ganiyu Fawehinmi, were conferred with the honours of Grand Commander Order of the Niger (GCON) at the colourful event. Principal actors in the cancellation of the annulled 1993 presidential election, including General Ibrahim Babangida, chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Prof. Humphrey Nwosu and former President Olusegun Obasanjo were absent at the investiture. Obasanjo tendered an apology for not being presence at the event because of his involvement in a book launch outside the country. Babangida equally tendered similar apology for his absence because of some prevailing issues touching on his health conditions.
Speaking after the investiture, Buhari said Nigerians in their numbers freely voted the late Abiola and Kingibe to assuage the feelings of many to correct the wrongs of the past. The president, who said the Federal Government took the decision to honour Abiola and all those who stood for the defence of democracy at the time, vowed that never would Nigerians tolerate such pervasion of justice in the country.
The retrospect 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, the side ill-feeling, hate, frustration and agony.
What we are doing is celebrating and appreciating the positive side of June 12. The June 12, which restate democracy and freedom; The June 12 that overcome our various divide and the June 12 that produced unity and national cohesion. This is the June 12 that we are celebrating today and we will nurture it to our next generation. “Accordingly, on behalf of the Federal Government, I tender the nation’s apology to the family of late MKO Abiola who got the highest votes and to those that lost their loved ones in the cause of the June 12 struggle.” The president called for the observance of a oneminute of silence for the life of Chief Abiola and all those who lost their lives in the process of the June 12 presidential election.