Senate President Bukola Saraki was conspicuously missing at the investiture of the late Moshood Abiola as Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) because he was away in Saudi Arabia, his spokesman has told Qed.ng.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday posthumously awarded Nigeria’s highest national honour to the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, 25 years after the exercise was annulled by former military ruler, General Ibrahim Babangida.
Saraki was one of the eminent personalities invited to the event, which also saw the investiture of the Grand Commander of the Niger (GCON) to Abiola’s running mate in the election, Baba Gana Kingibe.
Late human rights lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi, was also awarded a GCON posthumously.
Explaining Saraki’s absence, his spokesman, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said in a message to Qed.ng: “We are all in Saudi for the lesser hajj now. We arrived here on Monday morning and will not be back in the country till weekend.”
Saraki had on June 9 posted a picture of him praying in Saudi Arabia on Twitter.
Alhamdulilahi Robil al-amin. I just completed the Umrah rites in the Holy Mosque. May the Almighty Allah (SWT) accept our prayers. Amin. pic.twitter.com/Keaq2oVo41
— Bukola Saraki (@bukolasaraki) June 9, 2018
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was a chief beneficiary of the annulled June 12 election, was also absent at the event.
He, however, sent an apology that he was out of the country.
Babangida also sent an apology that he could not attend for health reasons.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, was also missing at the investiture.