As various commendations have continued to pour on President Muhammad Buhari for honouring Chief M.K.O Abiola and others, the Organised Labour has objected the choice of “presumed winner” in describing the victory of MKO at the 1993 presidential elections.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is however demanding that the phrase should be expunged from his identification. In a statement by Comrade Solomon Adelegan,
Acting President of the NLC, it noted that government recognition of June 12 as democracy Day as well as honouring the contributions of Chief MKO Abiola, Chief Gani Fawehinmi and Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe is seen as the deepening of nation’s democratic culture.
It however noted, “Since there has never been any contestation about the victory of MKO Abiola at the 1993 polls, it is only logical and honourable to expunge the use of “presumed winner” from official and reportorial narrative of the cruel annulment of June 12, 1993 election. In any case, government’s recent action in honoring Chief MKO Abiola makes irrelevant the use of the word “presumed” in describing his victory at the 1993 presidential polls.”
Adelegan said officially recognizing the June 12, 1993 Presidential election was a very important political watershed in Nigeria, while the official declaration of June 12 as a national public holiday, 25 years after in commemoration of Nigeria’s Democracy Day was commendable as it conveys significant democratic lessons.
Calling on the government to honour others in the struggle, both dead and alive, Adelegan stated that the honour done to the memories of MKO and other heroes of the June 12 struggle is a worthy restitution for their selfless and supreme sacrifice.
He said, “Nigerian workers enjoin the Federal Government to honour Nigerians who suffered enormous discomfort, state persecution and even paid the supreme price on the account of the June 12 struggle. The construction of a June 12 Cenotaph in the honour of these Nigerians would go a long way in institutionalizing the lessons of June 12.”
The NLC however urged the Federal Government to demonstrate complete affinity with the ideals of June 12 by removing all obstacles to free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.
In the same vein, Comrade Issa Aremu, NEC Member of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and General Secretary of the Textile Workers Union, said President Buhari had brought integrity to governance by “shunning the hypocrisy and shameless denials” of past leaders of Nigeria that June 12th was truly a watershed in the struggle for democracy in Nigeria.
He said Labour agrees with the administration that “June 12, 1993 was far more symbolic of democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29 as it was “June 12, 1993 that Nigerians in millions expressed their democratic will in what was undisputedly the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections since our Independence”.