President Muhammadu Buhari has indeed and once again shown that he is willing and determined to do anything in his desperate bid to win the 2019 elections.
Otherwise, how else can anyone describe the deceitful and hypocritical action taken by him when he renamed June 12
, the new Democracy Day after celebrating this year’s democracy day on May 29, 2018 and the presumed winner of that inconclusive election, the late Chief MKO Abiola, conferred with the highest national honour in the land, the GCFR, an honour reserved only for former Heads of States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
President Buhari has by his latest move recognized an otherwise cancelled election as an authentic one with a winner! The question is would he go the whole hog and restore the rights and privileges of a former President to the late Abiola?
In the same breath, President Buhari bestowed another posthumous award on the late legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi and honoured Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, the then presidential running mate to the late Chief Abiola.
While we of The United Nigeria Group (TUNG) are not opposed to honour being bestowed on eminent Nigerians who are deserving, we frown at a situation where the country’s national honours are being used for the purpose of scoring cheap political points.
Clearly, President Buhari cannot be said to be an admirer of the late businessman and Politician, Chief Abiola as Buhari was never identified with his travails all through the period that the June 12 1993 election saga lasted.
All through the period that late Abiola traversed the length and breadth of Nigeria canvassing for votes and to the point where the then military administration of General Ibrahim Babangida nullified the election thus rendering it inconclusive, there was no sign that then retired Major-General Muhammadu Buhari was in Nigeria, no one heard his voice among the hordes of Nigerian progressives and people of goodwill who identified with Abiola’s ambition, and who condemned the cancellation of the election that later took the late Abiola’s life.
Therefore for President Buhari to now turn round, about ten months to the 2019 polls in which public opinion has rated him poorly, to bestow honours on the dramatis personae of that election, is insensitive, cheap and extremely opportunistic.
We at TUNG consider the move as a way for the President seeking to ingratiate himself to the good people of the South West who have been clamouring for the immortalization of the late Abiola for his role in facilitating the return of democracy to the country. This ingratiation however, is for the sole purpose of seeking the votes of the people of the South West and not for love for the late Abiola.
We in TUNG hold the view strongly, that such a political move belies the posturing of President Buhari and his supporters as a man of integrity.
Indeed, President Buhari has brought the prestige of the office he occupies very low. For the purpose of getting votes, the man can do anything. If he is sincere, TUNG wonders why he failed to equally honour the memory of late General Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua, who with the late Abiola and other great Nigerians fought for democracy and who like Chief Abiola, paid with his life?
TUNG is convinced that President Buhari’s action reeks of hypocrisy. This was the same President who on a visit to Kano State, the home State of Nigeria’s brutal dictator, General Sani Abacha, whose stolen and laundered funds are still being repatriated today, described late Abacha as a clean man and declared that the former Head of State did not steal the country’s money! President Buhari said all the nice things about Abacha because he has eyes on the bloc votes of Kano State voters in 2019. And now he is honouring Abiola to hoodwink the people of the Southwest.
All said, TUNG wishes to advice President Buhari that more important than honouring late Abiola, the latter wherever he is would be more pleased if the President would devote more time to upholding the tenets of democracy and the rule of law through respect for citizens’ rights and creating jobs for the teeming mass of the unemployed who now roam our streets. Second, the late June 12
hero, was loved by many Nigerians because of the way he treated all who came to him without discrimination or nepotism thus promoting national unity.
TUNG challenges President Buhari to stop his assault on the unity of the country by halting his divisive ways and end the killings of Nigerians by herdsmen and bandits, as already demanded by the nation’s legislature. It is only by doing these that he can go into the 2019 election as a strong contender and not by cheap, self-serving and deceitful conferment of national honours on notable Nigerians.
. Dr. Bright is of The United Nigeria Group and writes from Warri in Delta State. 07085012331