Some Nigerians have applauded President Mhammadu Buhari for deciding to honour the mandate the citizens of the country gave late Moshood Abiola on June 12, 1993.
They made their views known to Voice of Nigeria at the investiture ceremony of the late Abiola.
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello said: It is a historic day, it's a wonderful day. June 12 is God's day for us that believe in democracy and it is a day that God has made for every Nigerian to celebrate the great sacrifices that people like Chief MKO Abiola, Chief Gani Fawehinmi and others have really sacrificed for this country. I say a big thank you to the father of the country for making the dreams of every democrat in this country come true. June 12 is for the whole county and Mr. President has given a master stroke in this particular declaration of June 12 as democracy day.
Minister of Youth and Sports development, Solomon Dalung also thanked the President for the gesture, said it's the beginning of an ideal democracy in Nigeria.
To us in the pro democratic movement, today is a day of great joy. How we wish Abiola was alive, how I wish Rewane would have been alive, how we wish Kudirat would have been alive.
It is a day of joy because we have been vindicated; those of us who stood for the sanctity of the election, today the 12 of June 2018 have every course to walk in Nigeria with our shoulders high. Of course the best election and the beginning of democracy in Nigeria is June 12.
And to me, for the President to recognize the winner of the election with the highest honour in the land and celebrating him today, today is the beginning of ideal democracy in Nigeria.
Since 1999, we have been hunted by the spirit of June 12; I believe after today there will be freedom in Nigeria. I believe after today every Nigerian can face election freely and be sure that the result will be declared.
I believe today rigging has ended in Nigeria and everybody contesting election in 2019 should know that the president has declared a free and fair election, no more rigging, no more hanky panky, face Nigerians with your performance, face Nigerians with your character just like Abiola did.
When I reflect on the election, the bitterest aspect of it is that the annulment of June 12 introduced religious and ethnic differences in Nigerian polity because Abiola was a Moslem, Kingibe was a Muslim. Nigerians believed in them and elected them and because that election was annulled, ethnicity came into our polity, religious differences came into our polity and today we are battling with it, he said.
Going philosophical, Mohammed Fawehinmi, son of late Gani fawehinmi said: Your Excellency, I want to congratulate you for this gesture. You are the first sensitive and reasonable head of state that has listened to Nigerians and acted accordingly. June 12 is the foundation of democracy in this country.
The recognition of Chief MKO Abiola as president-elect in this country not as presumed winner, I thank God that I have seen today. I congratulate the family of MKO Abiola, everybody present, I am proud of all of you. I also congratulate all of my family members here present.
These people stood their ground, sacrificed all they had for this country and I thank all for their sacrifices have not been in vain. Today is symbolic because it shows the entrenchment of unity all citizens of this country regardless of your tribe, ethnic background, religious beliefs because we are all Nigerians.
I want to appeal to all our politicians for God's sake let us appreciate ourselves as Nigerians. Chief MKO won Hope '93 but he was not allowed to govern. President Buhari won and we thank God He was allowed to govern.
We urge all Nigerians to support this man, to stop bickering and trivialities, religion and ethnic background. If you loose take it that way.
We are experiencing problems in Nigeria now because of hatred of values but I know with Oga at the helm of affairs things will be better for Nigeria. Thank you Mr. President for this honour and we accept it wholeheartedly and we will continue to pray for your success.
Similarly, Kola Abiola, son of late Moshood Abiola, thanked President Buhari and wished him well. He accepted the apology tendered by government to the Abiola family.
Mr. President on behalf of the MKO Abiola family, we accept both the award and the apology. We will like to thank you for the great honour you have done our family. We thank you for taking the decisive measures to strengthen our democracy and guarantee our future by reconciling our past. Thank you very much sir. Generations to come will honour your for this,he said.
On his part, Nassarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura said: This is an occasion that is not common, it is an occasion that is unprecedented, it is an occasion that has openly exemplified Mr. President's gesture and commitment towards democracy, fairness and the rule of law. I believe this gesture will go a long way in consolidating the unity and national cohesion of this country because this single gesture has proved to all people in this country that Mr. President means well for every Nigerian whether living or dead and I think Nigeria should take a cue from this and commit themselves to the tenets of democracy, fairness and the rule of law. Once we have that I believe, this county will be a country that all of us will be proud of.
Wife of late Gani Fawehinmi, Ganiyat said: I was a bit disturbed. Every time the security will come, turn our house upside down, even his office was broken into, they took away many files during IBB regime and they were not returned till date. So I just thanked God that I am alive to witness today and I know that my husband will turn in the grave for this June 12 that is being actualised because he really fought and died for it.
While for former Ogun State Governor, Segun Osoba: Buhari with the conferment of award has demonstrated he is courageous to do what others could not do. So I am happy that we are all alive today. The significance of what we are doing today is that the President has the courage to do what others failed to do. Secondly, he has shown tremendous courage in recognizing Abiola as late President of this country because I hate the language the presumed winner of the annulled June 12 election, with this declaration of honour of GCFR, which is reserved for President and GCON for Vice President and other eminent Nigerians, shows that the President has answered our appeals over the years and I thank God I am still alive.
Source: Voice of Nigeria