President Muhammadu Buhari has formally made the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993, Presidential election Grand Commander of the Federal Republic.
The conferment of the honour on the late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola comes 25 years after the election, which is recognised as the freest in the country’s history.
It comes almost 20 years after Abiola died in detention after being jailed by military dictator General Sani Abacha for trying to claim his mandate.
In his reaction, Kola Abiola, son of the late Moshood Abiola said President Muhammadu Buhari, by the posthumous national honour conferred on his father, has succeeded in “shaving his head in his absence”.
Kola opted not to read his already prepared speech, but rather called on her younger sister, Hafsat Abiola-Costello, to speak on behalf of the family. He, however, promised to make a copy of his speech available to the guests at the event.
“My late father used to say: ‘you can’t shave a man’s head in his absence’. Mr. President, I dare say, with this courageous posthumous honour award being bestowed today, you have just succeeded in shaving MKO’s head behind him,” read the speech which has appeared in the media.
“MKO was a man of many parts. He knew and touched every part of this great land of ours. From the North to the South, from the East to the West, he was at home everywhere across Nigeria. He was a great believer in Nigeria, a detribalised Nigeria and a Pan Africanist.”
The younger Abiola also re-echoed that the June 12, 1993, presidential election “was undisputedly the freest, fairest and most peaceful election since our Independence”.
“The pain and anguish that followed in the wake of the cruel annulment of this watershed event in the life of our nation is well known to those of us who witnessed it and had to endure its ugly consequences.
“The return of democratic rule on May 29, 1999 offered us a chance to face the reality of our recent history. Rather than reconciling ourselves to the truth and righting the wrong, the new democratic government failed the first test by designating the day it came to power as Democracy Day.
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