June 12: Buhari Apologises, Says “We Can Atleast Assuage Feelings, Recognise Wrong, Ease Future”


By Sadiq Umar – President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday tendered official apology to the family of late MKO Abiola, winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election, and those that lost their loved ones in the struggle to actualize the election mandate.

Mr. Buhari lamented that the then military government of General Ibrahim Babangida “inexplicably cancelled the election when it was clear who was the winner.”

The President spoke during the investiture of post-humous national honour of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR), on the late Mr. Abiola in Abuja.

Mr. Buhari however said the honour given to late MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, is not meant to “open old wounds”.

He also conferred Babagana Kingibe, Abiola’s running mate in the election, and Gani Fawehinmi, late human rights activist and pro-democracy, with the Grand Commander of Order of the Niger (GCON).

The result of the presidential election was annulled by the military government of Ibrahim Babangida before its final official announcement.

Addressing the gathering at the investiture which held in Abuja, Bubari also apologised to Abiola’s family for the decision of the then government to annul the result of the election.

“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. This event is not to open old wounds, but to put light on the nation,” Mr. Buhari added.

He said even though the country cannot rewind its past, “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,” he said.

The recognition of June 12 as Nigeria’s new Democracy Day has generated mixed reactions with opponents reading political motive to Mr. Buhari’s decision.



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