June 12: Buhari should remember these 6 people apart from Abiola – Ex-minister Akinyemi
– Professor Bolaji Akinyemi believes that the award on Abiola has helped to heal a wound inflicted on Nigerians
– Ainyemi wants President Buhari to also recognise six people including Ndubuisi Kanu, a retired military officer
– He recalls how the issue of June 12 almost tore the last national conference apart
A former external affairs minister and member of the defunct National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, has thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for awarding late Moshod Kashimawo Abiola.
Abiola is acclaimed to have won the June 12, 1993 presidential election seen as the freest and fairest in the country but which was annulled by a military junta.
Akinyemi, however, urged Buhari to also honour other prominent Nigerians involved in the struggle to actualise the June 12 mandate while arguing that the award to Abiola was one of the major steps towards healing a national wound.
Some of these Nigerians include Dan Suleiman, Ndubuisi Kanu, Frank Kokori, John Odigie-Oyegun, Akingba, and Bagauda Kaltho, who played active role in the June 12 struggle.
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This Day reports that Akinyemi, in a statement he issued on Saturday, June 9, said: “As a member of NADECO in its heyday, when it was most dangerous to be a member, June 6, marked the fulfillment of dreams, and the achievement of visions.
“On that day, President Muhammadu Buhari recognised the validity of the June 12, 1993 presidential elections, declared Chief MKO Abiola as the winner of that election, conferred national honours on MKO Abiola, his running mate, Babagana Kingibe, the human rights activist Gani Fawehinmi, and declared June 12, democracy day.
“I recognised how momentous that decision was and I not only welcome the decision, I thank President Buhari for the decision. President Buhari has addressed some of the wounds inflicted on this nation and applied healing balm on these wounds.
“Only those who lost family members, those imprisoned and detained or who had family members imprisoned and detained, those tortured and those driven into exile had felt the need for some measure of closure. That closure was achieved on January 6 by the executive order issued by President Buhari.”
Ainyemi continued: “The declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day is a victory for all Nigerians and not just for those who voted for MKO Abiola. The voting pattern on June 12, 1993 sealed the cleavages that have bedevilled Nigeria since the unification by Lugard.
“The annulment of the election results reopened and deepened those cleavages. I recognise and accept that the June 6 presidential executive order has applied some balm on these cleavages and, therefore, should be welcomed as a national rather than a sectional victory.”
He said the courage of the president in tackling this issue should be acknowledged.
“As the deputy chairman of the 2014 Nnational conference, I recall that when the issue of June 12 was raised, it almost tore the conference apart. I also recall that the issue of June 12 had been raised in different sessions of the National Assembly without resolution.
“That it took President Buhari to resolve this issue is a manifestation of what social scientists call the Nixon-China syndrome. It took a rabid anti-communist like Richard Nixon to extend diplomatic relations to China without the fear of being labelled a communist.