President Muhammadu Buhari has tendered a national apology to the family of Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, for the annulment of the election by Ibrahim Babangida, the then Military President.
Buhari made the apology in Abuja on Tuesday as he conferred a posthumous honour of Grand Commander Of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Abiola.
“On behalf of the Federal Government, I tender the nation’s apology to the family of late MKO Abiola,” Buhari said while also acknowledging that Chief MKO had majority votes, which made him winner of the ‘94 presidential election.
He also apologized “to those that lost their loved ones in the course of the June 12 struggle”.
President Buhari had earlier declared June 12 Democracy Day, holding that the day is more significant to the country’s democratic odyssey than May 29.
Buhari said: “We cannot rewind the past but we can at least assuage our feelings, recognise that a wrong has been committed and resolve to stand firm now and ease the future for the sanctity of free elections,
“Nigerians will no longer tolerate such perversion of justice. This retrospective and posthumous recognition is only a symbolic token of redress and recompense for the grievous injury done to the peace and unity of our country.
“Our action today is to bury the negative side of June 12 — side of ill-feelings, hate, frustration, and agony. What we are doing today is celebrating the positive side of June 12.
“The decision at this event is not meant to be, and is not, an attempt to open old wounds but to put right a national wrong.
“Nigerians, of their own free will, voted for Chief MKO Abiola, and Babagana Kingibe — the presidential flag bearer and running mate of the Social Democratic Party in the 1993 elections.”