With a swift manoeuvre, Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari quenched the fire in the bones of angry June 12 protagonists when he apologised on behalf of the federal government for the annulment of the election believed to have been won by Chief M. K. O. Abiola.
Professor Woke Soyinka said the apology has kept stuck in his throat what he meant to say; but he took exception to the loyalty that President Buhari showed to General Sani Abacha, who detained Abiola.
“There is a limit to professional loyalty,” Soyinka said, adding that the federal government should consider a hall of shame for many who deserve to be shamed for their ignominious role in the history of the country.
Former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba declared: “Your apology is the greatest joker…the masterstroke”.
Prominent lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), said that as far as he was concerned the result of the June 1993 had been announced with the conferment of the GCFR honour on Abiola.
He however called on the the government to stop the senseless killings going on the country.
Buhari said Tuesday, “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….
“The decision at this event is not meant to be, and is not, an attempt to open old wounds but to put right a national wrong…
“Nigerians, of their own free will, voted for Chief MKO Abiola, and Babagana Kingibe – the presidential flag bearer and running mate of the Social Democratic Party in the 1993 elections….
“What we are doing is to celebrate the positive side of June 12”.
He urged all Nigerians to accept the recognitions and awards in good faith.
He spoke at the investiture of national honours posthumously on Chief M.K.O. Abiola as Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR), Chief Gani Fawehinmi as the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON). He decorated Ambassador Babagana Kingibe with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).
The awards, he said, is in the national interest and help with reconciliation.
Last week, precisely on June 6, 2018, the President declared June 12 Nigeria’s new Democracy Day.