By Sadiq Umar – The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s post-humous honour for late Moshood Abiola, acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election, saying Nigerians are not deceived by “such antics.”
Mr. Buhari on Wednesday announced that June 12 would henceforth be recognized as Nigeria’s Democracy Day, in commemoration of an election adjudged to be the freest and fairest in Nigeria, replacing the May 29 chosen by previous administration.
The President also conferred a posthumous the award of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Mr. Abiola, while his then running mate Babagana Kingibe and foremost democracy activist, late Gani Fawehinmi equally bagged the Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON) award.
The national honour came 20 years after the death of Mr. Abiola in prison under military dictator, Sani Abacha.
But reacting in a statement, PDP Spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, faulted the president’s decision saying it “smacks of hypocrisy and political desperation ahead of 2019 presidential election, stating further that Nigerians are not deceived by such antics.
According to the PDP Spokesman, “President Buhari’s action merely sought to use the name and person of Chief Abiola to gain a political capital and not out of genuine reverence and recognition for him.
“The party recalls that President Buhari, who was serving in the military administration of General Sani Abacha during the travails of Chief MKO Abiola, did not associate either by words or actions with the late winner of June 12 election,” it pointed out.
Adding that, “history did not record President Buhari as sympathetic to the Abiola’s family when his wife, Kudirat, was gruesomely murdered by the agents of a government which president Buhari served.
“It is therefore a sign of political desperation for President Buhari to seek to use Chief Abiola’s name as a tool to sway Nigerians in less than twelve months to an election where he is seeking a second term.”
“It is also shocking that the respectable grave of Abiola can be dishonoured by granting a posthumous award on him along with someone who denounced the June 12 mandate and preferred the company of his (Abiola’s) traducers,” the statement added in a veiled reference to Mr. Kingibe.
“Even those who now masquerade as change agents were opposed to the naming of University of Lagos after Chief Abiola.
“If President Buhari genuinely wants to honour chief Abiola, he should do so by ending all anti-democratic proclivities of his administration and allow for the rule of law and respect for our constitution.”