Former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, who is also a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has promised to reveal the true story of the June 12, 1993 presidential poll annulment.
Late business mogul, Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola won the poll.
Dr. Kalu stated this in Lagos, yesterday, when he received an award from the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) for his financial and moral support to the Yoruba organisation, in commemoration of June 12 anniversary.
OPC said Kalu has been their major supporter in that reagrd in the last 18 years.
Kalu was honoured along side many other June 12 activists including former military administrator of Lagos State, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu; founder, Women Arise initiative, Dr. Joe Oki-Odumakin; Yerima Shettima, president of Arewa Youths
Consultative Forum; spokesman of Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin; former governorship candidate on the platform of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Dele Akele; Tony Uranta, among others.
The awards were confered on them in collaboration with the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, with the theme Nigerian politics and democratic process: MKO Abiola and the June 12, 1993 crisis and beyond.
Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, who decorated the recipients, said they were recognised for their commitment to the ideals of June 12.
Adams specifically praised Kalu for remaining committed to the struggle of June 12 and also, supporting OPC in organising the June 12 lectures in the last 18 years.
Adams also praised Kalu for his detrabalised nature and recalled how the former Abia governor was the first to proclaim June 12 ‘Democracy Day’ in 2000.
In his response, Kalu reiterated that he was the first person to recognise June 12 as Democracy Day because he believes in it.
“I became governor of Abia state in May 1999 and in 2000, I declared June 12 as Democracy Day because it was more realistic and I believed in it.
“May 29 is more of an Info day, it is just that the government then wanted to scuttle it”, Kalu said.
Kalu refuted insinuations that the President Muhammdau Buhari-led government conferred the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic award on Abiola to curry political favours.
“There is nothing wrong with the timing; it could not have come at a better time. Buhari only did what every other president before him failed to do,” he said.
Kalu also defended accusations that he is friendly with pro and anti-June 12 forces.
“ Yes, I’m friendly with both pro and anti-June 12 groups because there must always be a bridge builder.”
said the full story of June 12 has not been told, and promised that “the full story of June 12, those who truncated it, the roles they played and the beneficiaries will be told, on another day, may be when I come for the next June 12 anniversary.”
Chairman of the lecture, Senator Shehu Sani, from Kaduna State, said while pro-democracy advocates rejoice and accept the posthumous GCFR award bestowed on Abiola, they rejected the political motive.
“By conferring on him the award of GCFR, MKO Abiola is already a president. All that needs to be done now is for the Federal Government to officially proclaim Abiola a former president of Nigeria and give his family all his entitlements. When I get back to Abuja, I will sponsor a motion to that affect,” Sani disclosed.
He also demanded that all those who participated in annulling the June 12 presidential poll should apologise to Nigerians for their role in the saga and its aftermath.
Responding on behalf of the award recipients, Okei-Odumakin thanked the organisers and noted that “this is the best thing that has happened and it is a thing of joy to be honoured.
“ I received the invitation to come to the (Presidential Villa) for the conferment on Abiola, but, I chose to be at this event.
“Government should not only award MKO Abiola GCFR, they should also name him a former president of Nigeria,” she said.