June 12 declaration: New MKO Abiola statue unveiled in Lagos

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The Lagos state Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has unveiled a new Statue of the M.K.O Abiola at Alapere, Ketu, on Tuesday following President Muhammadu Buhari’s conferment of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR, on the democracy Icon.

Mr Buhari had also declared June 12 as the country’s new Democracy Day in recognition of Mr Abiola who was widely acclaimed to be the winner of the annulled election.

Similarly, The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, had said that Mr Buhari’s declaration and conferment of GCFR title on Mr Abiola serves as an acknowledgement that he won the 1993 election.

Mr Tinubu made the assertion in a message entitled “The Immortalisation of Chief MKO Abiola”, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos by his Media Officer, Tunde Rahman.

He said that the award of the GCFR was also an acknowledgement that Abiola should have been allowed to serve as president after winning the free and fair expression of the popular will of the people.

Mr Buhari had on Wednesday declared June 12 as new National Democracy Day with effect from 2019.

Mr Buhari also said that the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 election, MKO Abiola, would be posthumously awarded the highest award of GCFR.

He added that Mr Abiola’s running mate in the election, Babagana Kingibe, and late human rights lawyer, Gani Fayehinmi, SAN, would be vested with Grand Commander of the Niger, GCON.

Mr Tinubu said that the declaration was a good news for democracy and a proud moment for Nigeria.

According to him, Mr Buhari’s decision has corrected the wrongs of the past.

“Along with all democratic and fair-minded Nigerians, I welcome the news that June 12 will replace May 29 as Democracy Day. I too applaud Buhari for making this courageous and rightful decision.

“He has shown all Nigerians and the world that we have the moral fortitude to objectively face our history, learn from it and improve our society by virtue of this learning.

“June 12, more than any other day, symbolises the struggles and sacrifices made by countless Nigerians to establish democracy as our way of national governance.

“Chief MKO Abiola and others gave their lives that we might have democracy, that the will of the people will be sovereign and not suppressed by the will of the few.

“This proclamation by Buhari will forever immortalise the sacrifices made by these patriots who gave off themselves in service of such a noble and rightful purpose,” he said.

Mr Tinubu also commended the award to MKO Abiola’s running mate, Babagana Kingibe and Gani Fawehinmi.

He said that Mr Fawehinmi was a fearless advocate for democracy and the human rights of the common man.

According to him, whenever and wherever late Mr Fawehinmi speaks, it was the language of truth to power.