The family of the acclaimed winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola, on Tuesday in Abeokuta said the best way the Federal Government could immortalise the late politician was to officially recognise him as a former President of Nigeria.
Similarly, the President of the Campaign for Democracy, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, has advocated the posthumours declaration of the late Abiola as a past President of the country.
Younger brother of the late politician, Alhaji Mubashiru Abiola, stated this while speaking at the Abiola family house in Abeokuta when civil society groups, indigenes of Ogun State and some officials of the state government led by Governor Ibikunle Amosun, converged on their Oja Agbo residence as part of the activities to mark the 19th anniversary of the annulled election.
Mubashiru, who said Abiola offered himself as the sacrificial lamb for democracy to take roots in Nigeria, stressed that the soul and spirit of the late politician would only take the deserved rest if the Federal Government declares the late business mogul as one of Nigeria’s past presidents.
He said, “Abiola sacrificed everything including his life for this country. It’s not enough to name a university after him, Although, we thank the government for that gesture, the only way his spirit and soul can be appeased is to recognise him officially as a former president of Nigeria.”
Mubashiru stated that the family members had been neglected since the demise of Abiola, alleging that the Federal Government had not extended any assistance to the family in the past 19 years.
Okei-Odumakin, who spoke at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, demanded that the late politician’s portraits be hung in all public places across the country.
While commending the state government for organising a 13-km walk to honour her late father, one of the daughters of Abiola, Hafsat Abiola-Costello, who spoke on behalf of the family, commended Nigerians for keeping the memory of her father alive.
Amosun described him as a man Nigerians wanted as president, saying no honour would be too much to immortalise him.
The governor pledged that the state government would continue to organise events every year to celebrate the late Abiola.
In the same vein, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to declare Abiola the winner of June 12 1993 presidential election as an elected president.
Fayemi’s counterpart in Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, urged the Federal Government to recognise the late business mogul and politician as a former President.
The Ekiti State governor said this in Ado-Ekiti at a lecture by the state government to commemorate the 19th anniversary of June 12 Anniversary.
Fayemi urged the FG to declare June 12 as a public holiday in honour of the late Abiola, who he said paid the supreme prize for the nation’s current democracy.
He said, “By all available facts, Chief MKO Abiola won the election clearly and squarely and should be regarded today as an elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Also, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mrs. Priscilla Kuye, SAN, tasked the FG to name the National Stadium, Abuja after the winner of June 12 election.
She added that June 12 should also be declared as Democracy Day, saying it was more apt to regard the day as Democracy Day because of its significance in the history of Nigeria.
Ajimobi suggested that the Federal Government should confer on the late politician and businessman the highest honour in the land befitting of a president.
He spoke through a statement on Tuesday by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr. Festus Adedayo.
The statement said the nation should, 19 years after the electoral watershed of June 12, have seen the late business mogul as a symbol of democracy.
The governor said Abiola was a martyr who laid down his life for democracy in Nigeria.
He said, “To have continued with this silence on the democratic feat that Abiola wrought would show to the whole world that we are an ungrateful nation. But for Abiola and his bravery in choosing to die rather than allow his mandate to be stolen, we would perhaps still be in the bondage of military rule.”