Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
The Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Chief Victor Umeh has faulted the planned honouring of June 12 heroes today without the then National Electoral Commission (NEC) Chairman, Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, saying that Nwosu was the actual hero of the 1993 general election.
Speaking to newsmen in Awka shortly after being made the ‘NUJ Man of the Year 2017’, by the Anambra State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Senator Umeh stressed that though it was commendable on the part of the President to honour MKO Abiola, his running mate Babagana Kingibe and Gani Fawehinmi, but doing so without the man who took the risk to ensure the election held in the freest and fairest manner ever and declared result, was another act of injustice and marginalization against Ndigbo.
He said, “Professor Humphrey Nwosu conducted the 1993 elections and defiled all manner of pressures. He was also in the process of announcing the results of that election when the soldiers stormed his office and whisked him away with the results of the election.
“When they called him on phone not to announce the result, he refused and was already announcing the results state by state and was on course to getting to the final declaration when the soldiers stepped in, put gun on his head, stopped him and whisked him away. So celebrating those who were presumed to have won the election and forgetting the person who ensured that that election took place and conducted it in the freest and fairest manner was a grave omission on the part of the Federal government.
“Even now, it is not late for them to honor him with a national award. If they have given the acclaimed winner Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) and his vice, Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), and an activist who fought for the restoration of the mandate, Chief Gani Fawehinmi with Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), there’s no reason why Prof Humphrey Nwosu should not be honored with Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON). Because Gani Fawehinmi was just an activist and the man who took the risk was left out…”
Furthermore, he said, “Chief Moshood Abiola and his vice were not president and vice president but can be regarded as president and vice president elect that never served because one cannot be a president if he/she was not sworn in and did not serve, so the honor given to them already by the federal government is enough; those who are asking that they should be given all the entitlement of former president are being emotional and sentimental over the matter.
“The recognition that they won the election is enough tribute to them. Their names would be in the history book as those who won the election but never served and enough consolation for their families.”
On the issue of moving the public holiday from May 29 to June 12, Umeh said, “Well, the government has said so; we’ll look at the relevant laws to see if the President has such powers to change holiday in a country without the backing of the legislation. So when we resume, we’ll look at it at the National Assembly if the president is right in changing the date by himself without an art of the National Assembly we’ll also see, but if he didn’t have the power to make that proclamation, we may back it up with legislation.
“What is important is that Nigerians are happy with coming to admit that there was a mistake and injustice done here in 1993. So in the same vein, Prof Humphrey Nwosu should be recognised among the heroes of that election, leaving him out is another grave injustice.”