The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the national honour conferred on the acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election, MKO Abiola, by President Muhammadu Buhari smacks of hypocrisy and political desperation ahead of 2019 presidential election.
President Buhari on Wednesday announced June 12 as Nigeria’s new Democracy Day and conferred the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) national honour on Abiola posthumously.
Abiola’s running mate in the 1993 election, Baba Gana Kingibe, and the late human rights lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi, were also conferred with the national honour of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).
But in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP declared that President Buhari’s action merely sought to use the name and person of Abiola to gain a political capital and not out of genuine reverence and recognition for him.
The party said that President Buhari, who was serving in the military administration of General Sani Abacha during the travails of Abiola, did not associate either by words or actions with the late winner of June 12 election.
It further stated that history did not record President Buhari as sympathetic to the Abiola’s family when his wife, Kudirat, was gruesomely murdered by the agents of a government which President Buhari served.
“It is therefore a sign of political desperation for President Buhari to seek to use Chief Abiola’s name as a tool to sway Nigerians in less than twelve months to an election where he, (President Buhari) is seeking a second term.
“It is also shocking that the respectable grave of Abiola can be dishonoured by granting a posthumous award on him along with someone who denounced the June 12 mandate and preferred the company of his (Abiola’s) traducers.
“Even those who now masquerade as change agents were opposed to the naming of University of Lagos after Chief Abiola.
“If President Buhari genuinely wants to honour Chief Abiola, he should do so by ending all anti-democratic proclivities of his administration and allow for the rule of law and respect for our constitution.
“The PDP therefore urges President Buhari to shed his desperate actions in his quest to win the 2019 presidential election as Nigerians can no longer be deceived by such antics,” the statement said.