MKO Abiola’s 1993 opponent, Bashir Tofa, speaks on Buhari’s June 12 announcements

Alhaji Tofa

The opposition candidate in the 1993 presidential election, Bashir Tofa, has expressed reservations about President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to honour late Moshood Abiola and his then running mate, Babagana Kingibe.

Mr Abiola presumably won the June 12, 1993 election, considered one of Nigeria’s fairest elections. The election was, however, annulled by the military government of Ibrahim Babangida before the final results were announced. Mr Abiola was arrested and detained in 1994 while trying to actualise his mandate as elected president. He died in military detention in 1998.

President Muhammadu Buhari last week announced that in Mr Abiola’s honour, June 12 would henceforth be Nigeria’s Democracy Day, which was formerly held on May 29. The president also honoured Mr Abiola with the highest Nigerian honorary award of GCFR. Mr Kingibe was also honoured with the second highest award of GCON, alongside a late human rights activist, Gani Fawehinmi. The presidency also invited some persons – mainly leaders of Mr Abiola’s then Social Democratic Party and activists who supported the actualisation of his mandate, as well as families of both categories of people – to an event on Tuesday to honour the late businessman.

In his reaction in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES early Sunday, Mr Tofa said he would have rejected the honour, even if he was offered by the president.

“While I do not begrudge the president his power to bestow favour on whomsoever he pleases, it is also important, especially for history, for all actions from the highest authority in the country to be based on fair play and law,” Mr Tofa, who described Mr Abiola as his friend, said.(Premium Times)

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