By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”THE member representing Oredo Federal Constituency of Edo state in the House of Representatives, Mr. Patrick Obahiagbon, has said the only way President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua could show sincere commitment to electoral reform and rule of law was to declare the late MKO Abiola as the posthumous winner of the June 12,1993, presidential election.
He argued that from all indications, particularly the declaration by the then chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Humphrey Nwosu, Chief Abiola won the election, would be unfair for the President to be talking about the rule of law and electoral reform when issues concerning the June 12 election have not been laid to rest.
Obahiagbon, who spoke to Vanguard in Benin City yesterday, stressed that Abiola made a great sacrifice in the democracy that the nation enjoyed today, and that it would be unfair to only name the National stadium after him, as it was being suggested by his colleagues in the National Assembly.
He added that naming the stadium after Abiola would beÂ restraining him to only a South West leader which, according to him, will be extricating him from his political contributions to the growth of democracy in the country.
He said:Â Â â€œLet me say straight away that there are no two ways to the immortalization of Chief MKO Abiola. It is audible to the deaf and visible to the blind that the late Chief MKO Abiola today holds the most pan Nigerian mandate that any president of this country has ever waded. That was a mandate that defied egocentrism, it was a mandate that defied religious bigotry. It was a mandate that defied centrifugal forces in Nigeria .
â€œProfessor Humphrey Nwosu who conducted that election, in his recent book, went to mountain Olympus to tell the whole world that Abiola won that election, and we cannot be talking about electoral reforms if we do not revisit June 12, that was committed to political sepulchre.
â€œAnd that was why I moved that motion that given the fact that Abiola won that election, given the fact that we are now operating a system of government committed to the rule of law, given the fact that both the President and the National Assembly have told the whole world that they are committed to reforming the electoral system, the best place to show commitment to the rule of law, the best place to show commitment or sincerity to electoral reform is to revisit the outcome of June 12 election.â€
Obahiagbon added that â€œthat was why I moved a motion that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should declare Chief MKO Abiola as the posthumous winner of the June 12 election and accord to him all the privileges that he should enjoy as a former President of this country.
â€œYes of course, one week after that motion was shut down, the House now affirmed by a resolution that given Abiolaâ€™s support to sports in Africa , given his eminent status to sports in Africa , the National Stadium in Surulere should be named after Abiola.
â€œBut as far as I am concerned, that is a disservice to the memory of late Chief MKO Abiolaâ€.