In the bid to fulfil his decision, President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, today Tuesday June 12, 2018 decorated the acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 Presidential election, late Moshood Kashimowo Abiola with the Nigeria’s highest honour of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) land while his running mate, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe was awarded the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).
Kola Abiola, the eldest son of Late Chief MKO Abiola, received the posthumous award of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, Nigeria’s highest honour, on behalf of the family.
Also, among those honoured today is late human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN) Chief Gani Fawehinmi, was posthumously awarded the GCON.
Recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Wednesday June 6, 2018 while announcing the names of these awardees, announced that Democracy Day in Nigeria will be celebrated on June 12 from next year (2019) as against May 29 as has been the case.
The event which took place at the Banqueth Hall of Aso Rock had several individuals and groups who played prominent roles in pushing for the actualisation of June 12 and its proclamation as Nigeria’s Democracy Day were in attendance to witness the event.
They include:: Tinubu, Akande, governors of Kogi, Kano, Kebbi, Kwara, Benue, Nasarawa, Jigawa, Ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
According to Premium Times, Mr Mustapha in his speech said the conferment of honours on Mr. Abiola and others was to further establish the fundamental principles of the Buhari administration.
He said “Nation building requires the sacrifice of all citizens, we must therefore imbibe the moral rectitude to embrace our past,” he said.
“We must, therefore, recognise the heroes of our democracy,” he added.
“June 12, more than any other events in Nigeria’s history symbolises strong democratic principles and experience, Mr Mustapha says.
He adds that the president has placed history in the right perspective by recognising declaring June 12 as a Democracy Day and recognising its key figures.
He thanks groups and individuals who have played roles in entrenching Nigeria’s democratic experience for the past 20 years of uninterrupted republic.
Mr Mustapha says an announcement is underway for the list of individuals who have played critical roles in furthering the cause of democracy.
The first son of late Abiola, Kola Abiola who came to receive the award on behalf of his late father was seated at the front row with Abba Kyari, Chief Of Staff to the President.
Ganiyat Fawehinmi, wife of the late rights activist, received the national honours on behalf of the family, coming nearly nine years after his death.
It will be recalled that Chief Gani Fawehinmi in 2008 declined national honours from former President Umar Yar’Adua.
He died in September 2009 and his family rejected a similar honour during Nigeria’s centenary celebrations in 2014.
The family said last week that the latest award appropriately honoured the memory of Mr. Fawehinmi and, therefore, accepted it from Mr. Buhari.