By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA—A traditional ruler from Ogun State and kinsmen of the late acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, Presidential Election, Moshood Abiola, yesterday, asked the Federal Government to shift handover date from the usual May 29 to June 12.
Abiola’s kinsmen in Gbagura through the Agura of Gbagura, Oba Halidu Olaloko, the Sobekun II and Gbagura Council of Chiefs explained that the shift in the President’s tenure and handover date by two weeks became necessary to properly actualise the June 12, 1993 annulment date and immortalize Abiola.
Addressing a press conference at Agura Palace, Oba Halidu Olaloko lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for the steps taken so far, saying there is need to extend the President’s handover date from May 29 to June 12, starting from 2019 for proper immortalization of Abiola.
The Agura of Gbagura, who was represented by Adio Baiyewun, Balogun of Ojoo-Gbagura, said: “We also passionately request the National Assembly to take a second look at the President proposal on June 12 and demand that, for proper actualisation of the date, and to support Mr President on the need to replace the hitherto public holiday of May 29 and celebration as well as handover day with June 12 since the date marks a watershed in the Nigerian political history.
“We see this as victory of truth over injustice, and as people of Gbagura and Ogun State at large, we are extremely glad that Mr. President has finally done what is just and fair with the posthumous award of GCFR on Late Abiola and the declaration of June 12 as proper Democracy Day and a public holiday in Nigeria.
“We equally applause the National Assembly for directing the National Electoral Commission, NEC, to formally announce the results of June 12, 1993 election, declare Chief MKO Abiola winner and as an ex-president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with all his entitlement fully paid.”
‘Declaration needs constitutional backing‘
Also speaking a former House of Representatives member, Chief Bode Mustapha and member of Gbagura Council of Chiefs, advised President Buhari to send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly asking for the constitutional backing of the new amendments to the President’s Handover Day and Democracy Celebration.
Mustapha said: “This can happen if the President sends an Executive Bill to the National Assembly in order to make it a law of the land.
“What I think is important is for the president to send an executive bill to the National Assembly because it must be backed by law.”
We’re righting the wrong—Ogun APC
Similarly, the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ogun State said that the declaration of June 12 as democracy day shows that the party was ready to right the wrong of the past.
The State Publicity Secretary, Chief Wole Elegbede, in a statement, said the declaration by President Buhari has demonstrated that the APC is a forthright party.
Elegbede said: “The annulment of the June 12, 1993 election which was adjudged as the freest and most peaceful in the history of Nigeria cannot easily be forgotten.
“It would remain a symbolic day for democracy in Nigeria. That was the day that the electoral wish of Nigerians was thrown overboard by the military as Chief M.K.O. Abiola was headed to victory in the presidential election.
“The pronouncement by President Buhari changing the Democracy Day from May 29 to June 12 demonstrates that the APC government listens to the people and respects their yearning.”