Leading Opposition party in Nigeria, the People’s Democratic Party has accused the presidency of politicising the posthumous National award is preparing to give Late Chief MKO Abiola (Today).
The party also accused President Buhari of modifying the circumstances that led to Abiola’s travails.
The PDP alleged that Buhari overtly betrayed his political inclination in the article published by the Presidency, which it claimed, relegated the virtues of Abiola and dwelt on praise-singing of the President.
The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Monday, noted that the Presidency, in the article, relied on false performance indices and insinuations, ostensibly aimed to set up perceived political opponents of the current administration as Abiola’s traducers.
His Word: “This publication also confirmed fears that President Buhari desperately seeks to use Abiola’s revered name and person to draw political capital ahead of the 2019 general election.
“The Presidency in its desperation went ahead to demean the exalted office of the President, as well as the import of the posthumous award, by sponsoring tweets to divert public attention from Chief Abiola and his virtues, to procure praises for President Buhari.
“If there is any person to blame for Chief Abiola’s travails, should it not be President Buhari who, on December 31, 1983, staged a military coup that destroyed democratic governance, locked up politicians without trial and set the stage for the deferment of democratic governance, which Chief Abiola paid the supreme sacrifice to restore?
“Also, the Presidency, by asserting that ‘detention without trial, even under the military was wrong’ has directly indicted President Buhari, who, in 1984 clamped politicians into detention without trial; an injustice he recently boasted about.”
Meanwhile, the electoral umpire at that time past, who happened to be the chairman of the National Electoral Commission, Prof. Humphrey Nwosu has announced that he will not be able to attend the posthumous investiture of the presumed winner of June 12, 1993, presidential election as the grand commander of the federal republic (GCFR) scheduled to hold (today)
In a letter he wrote to the federal government, Nwosu regretted that he would not be able to attend the event because he was outside the country.
He, however, commended President Mohammadu Buhari for recognizing June 12 as the country’s Democracy Day and for honouring Abiola.
He said the honour would rekindle the national consciousness of all Nigerians for a better nation.
The letter read, “I thank His Excellency, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mohammadu Buhari and the Federal Government of Nigeria for recognizing June 12 as Democracy Day and also honouring the winner of June 12, 1993, presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola.
“Indeed, June 12, 1993, marked a turning point in Nigeria’s tortuous journey towards a democratic polity. It is an honour to the very hard-working men and women of the defunct National Electoral Commission under my leadership at this long-awaited recognition. I humbly commend this action by the President.
“Undoubtedly, the democratic system of governance is the best especially for a multi-ethnic nation like ours. I thank you for building on the foundation which my team and I laboured strenuously to establish and actualize on June 12, 1993.
“It is our hope that expanding the frontiers of democracy of which all the people of Nigeria, regardless of ethnic group, will provide economic, social and developmental benefits that will certainly make Nigeria a great nation not only in Africa but across the world.
“Certainly, the scheduled event on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, will rekindle the national consciousness of all Nigerians for a better nation.
“Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I will not be present at the investiture ceremony as I am outside the country. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!”
The letter accordingly is addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, a copy to which is made available to journalists in Abuja on Monday.
The Federal Government had invited Nwosu and key stakeholders in the struggle for the revalidation of the election to the event during which the late human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, will also be honoured posthumously with the Grand Commander of the Order of Niger alongside Abiola’s running mate, Babagana Kingibe.