By Lydia Ngwakwe
President Muhammadu Buhari has scored a big goal as activists on Thursday commended him for declaring June 12 as the new Democracy Day and bestowing the highest national honour on the winner of the election, MKO Abiola.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Buhari on Wednesday declared that June 12 will henceforth be celebrated as Democracy Day
He also conferred a posthumous national honour of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic on the winner of June 12, 1993 Presidential election, MKO Abiola.
Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, President of Women Arise for Change Initiative (WA), said: “”We accept these honors no matter how belated because we and other Nigerians have campaigned around these issues over the years.”
She said June 12 could not be forgotten so fast by Nigerians because it was the day Nigerians freely elected a President in the freest and fairest election.
The rights activist prayed that the spirit of June 12 would take firm root in Nigeria future elections.
““It is our wish that the essential spirit of June 12 takes firm root in our land with free and fair election and become a norm in our land.
“”From the Ekiti elections scheduled for July 14 and the general elections in 2019. That is the moment the spirits of Abiola and all martyrs of June 12 will forgive Nigeria’’. She said.
Alhaji Balarabe Musa, National Chairman of Peoples Redemption Party and former governor of old Kaduna State, said Buhari’s action had given Nigerians renewed hope.
““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,’’ Musa said.
Hafsat Abiola-Costello, daughter of MKO composed a special poem to thank President Buhari for honouring her father, after 25 years.
“Dear friends, words cannot truly express how happy I feel. Here is President Buhari’s executive order declaring that June 12, the day of the election that my father won, would henceforth be Nigeria’s Democracy Day and conferring on my dad the title of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, a title reserved for presidents. Twenty five years after June 12…Please celebrate with me.”