Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Kinsmen of the late M.K.O Abiola in Gbagura, Abeokuta, have asked the Federal Government to follow up the conferment of posthumous Grand Commanderof the Federal Republic of Nigeria (GCFR) on Abiola, by shifting the handover date from the usual May 29 to June 12.
Addressing newsmen on behalf of the kinsmen, the Agura of Gbagura, Oba Halidu Laloko, argued that the shift in the president’s tenure and handover date by two weeks, has become necessary to properly acknowledge the June 12, 1993 presidential election annulment and immortalise MKO Abiola, who sacrificed his life for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, last week, conferred a posthumous GCFR on Abiola and declared June 12 as the new Democracy Day instead of May 29.
The Senate followed suit by asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare the late business mogul as the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election. It also asked the Federal Government to approve all entitlements due to former presidents for him.
The Agura, represented at the press conference by the Balogun of Ojo-Gbagura, Adio Baiyewun, who lauded President Buhari on the move, equally urged the National Assembly to legislate on proposal and make June 12 the new date for handing over in the country.
This, according to him, will ensure the supreme sacrifice made by Abiola is properly immortalised.
“We see this as victory of truth over injustice, and as people of Gbagura and Ogun State, at large, we are extremely glad that Mr. President has finally done what is just and fair with the posthumous award of GCFR on late Abiola and the declaration of June 12 as proper Democracy Day.
“We equally applaud the National Assembly, led by the Senate for directing the INEC to formally declare Abiola winner and as former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with all his entitlements fully paid.
“We also request the National Assembly to take a second look at President Buhari’s proposal on June 12 and demand proper actualisation of the date and immortalisation of Abiola. There is need to support Mr. President on the need to replace the, hitherto, public holiday of May 29 and celebration as well as handover day with June 12, since the date marks a watershed in the Nigerian political history,” Agura said.
In his remark, Chairman, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and Gbagura chief, Bode Mustapha, called on President Buhari to send an executive bill to the National Assembly, asking for constitutional backing of the new amendments to the handover day and Democracy Day celebration.
“What I think is important is for the President to send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly because it must be backed by law. Because of the separation of powers, between the executive and the legislature, we appeal to the president to forward an executive bill to the National Assembly, taking into cognisance the circumstances that led to the annulment of the June 12 elections and the importance of that day and date in the watershed of the democracy of this nation.
“Once it has been sent to the National Assembly and it becomes law, it extends the tenure of the present government and the National Assembly only by a couple of days. And there will be no disparity again in the Democracy Day and handover date,” Mustapha said.