What stakeholders are saying concerning June 12 declaration as Democracy Day
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday declared that every 12th of June will now be commemorated as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
In a statement made available yesterday, the President said June 12th, 1993 was the day when Nigerians in millions expressed their democratic will in what was undisputedly the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections since its Independence.
“Accordingly, after due consultations, the Federal government has decided that henceforth, June 12th will be celebrated as Democracy Day. Therefore, Government has decided to award posthumously the highest honour of the land, GCFR, to late Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12th 1993 cancelled elections. His running mate as Vice President, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, is also to be invested with a GCON.
“Furthermore, the tireless fighter for human rights and the actualization of the June 12th elections and indeed for Democracy in general, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN is to be awarded the GCON,” the statement read in part.
In their various reactions stakeholders have continued to air their opinions on the matter.
A former Education minister and co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls Group Oby Ezekwesili welcomed the president’s gesture saying the symbolism of June12 was huge for Nigeria’s Democracy.
“That’s a very welcome gesture from @NGRPresident @MBuhari – this honor done Chief MKO Abiola. The symbolism of June 12 is huge for our Democracy.
“The sacrifice of the Abiola family was much and I do hope Mrs Kudirat Abiola is similarly accorded the honor due her. #History,” she said.
Human Rights lawyer and activist Femi Falana in his reaction said by declaring June 12 Democracy Day the federal government has officially validated the integrity of the fair and free election that was annulled by the Ibrahim Babangida junta.
“By recognizing June 12 as Democracy Day the federal government has put an end to the hypocrisy of May 29 which was proclaimed by the Olusegun Obasanjo regime. By conferring the post humous award of national award of Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON) on Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN the federal government has officially endorsed his enormous contributions to the titanic battle against military dictatorship and promotion of human rights in Nigeria<” he said.
Mr. Falana urged Buhari to adopt chief Abiola’s programme of welfare to poverty and respect the human rights of all Nigerians which Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN championed and defended in his life time.
In his own reaction, a former governor of old Kaduna State Alhaji Balarabe Musa said ; “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.”