Declaration Of June 12 As Democracy Day: Diverse Reactions Trail Buhari’s Decision

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There have been diverse views on the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to have declared June 12 as the nation’s democracy day and not the once celebrated May 29.

The June 12, 1993 Presidential election saw Social Democratic Party (SDP) declared winner of the election before then military head of state, General Ibrahim Babanginda annulled the election, triggering political violence in Nigeria, most especially in the southwest.

However, on Wednesday, Buhari officially announced MKO Abiola as the authentic winner of the election to the amusement of many Nigerians.

Below are some of their response

Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere

“We are not unaware that we are now in the election season and every attempt will be made to woo voters with issues that are popular,” Mr Odumakin said.

“But be that as it may, we have canvassed for the honour of Chief Moshood Abiola since the annulment of June 12 and for June 12 to be declared democracy day for over two decades now. Therefore we accept the declarations and commend them.

“If we are able to hold free and fair elections, if we allow Nigerians to elect their leaders without hindrance, if the will of voters is acknowledged, if the ballot is allowed to reign supreme in the next Nigerian elections, then this would have celebrated our true belief in the spirit of June 12 and the proper honour of Abiola, who died on principle, insisting that the rights of Nigerians and their votes must be respected.”

National Publicity Secretary , Mr Kola Ologbondiyan , Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)

“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, ( President Buhari ) 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 .

A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP ) , Chief Ebenezer Babatope

“Even though one may question the timing , the motivation is right.

“We should commend Buhari for the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day and the conferment of GCFR on the late MKO Abiola,” he said .

Mr Wasiu Eshinokun -Sanni , the Deputy Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly

“The good part is that effort of Nigerians in forgetting religious and tribal sentiments as exhibited by the June 12 elections is not in vain . June 12 is Democracy Day is also symbolic .

“What Obasanjo ( former President) failed to recognise all this while in spite being the greatest beneficiary of June 12 , a Nigerian of northern extraction has brought it to the front burner ,” he said .

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode

“This is a welcome development. It is a historic moment in our nation and I join other Nigerians to commend President Buhari on this announcement. By this move, he has done what previous administrations failed to do. This not only shows that the President is a man of history and character but also eloquently confirms that the heroes of democracy did not die in vain after all,” Governor Ambode said.

Media mogul, Dele Momodu, ha

“Well done PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI on this well thought out decision… Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister of aviation

“I commend @MBuhari for announcing June 12th as our new Democracy Day.
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“This is long overdue and I am pleasantly surprised. I also commend him for honoring Chief MKO Abiola, the winner of the June 12th 1993 presidential election, with the posthumous award of GCON. This is great news!”

Reno Omokri, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s aide

“President @Mbuhari is a joke. In desperation for the Southwest vote, he has declared June 12, Democracy Day a d given MKO Abiola a post humous GCFR.

“What hypocrisy! This was a man who served Abacha while Abacha jailed Abiola. This was a man who praised Abacha, Abiola’s jailer!”.

Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana(SAN)

“The Mohammadu Buhari administration made history today by conferring the posthumous national award of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Chief M. K. O. Abiola, the acclaimed of the June 12, 1993 presidential election for his huge contribution to the restoration of democratic rule in Nigeria.

“By declaring June 12 Democracy Day the Federal Government has officially validated the integrity of the fair and free election that was criminally annulled by the Ibrahim Babangida junta.

“By recognizing June 12 as Democracy Day the Federal Government has put an end to the hypocrisy of May 29 which was proclaimed by the Olusegun Obasanjo regime..

Balarabe Musa, National Chairman of Peoples Redemption Party

““President Buhari’s action with regards to declaration of June 12 as democracy day and award of the highest honour to late Chief MKO Abiola are relevant, just, courageous and patriotic.

““The actions give hope that President Buhari can do the right thing and correct wrongs before it’s too late for him and for the nation,’’ Mr Musa said.

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