#June12, Thank You Very Much, President Muhammadu Buhari
Fellow Nigerians, help me shout hurrah, and say a big thank you to our dear President for finally doing the unthinkable, as I recommended he should be doing only last week, in this column.
The best way to lead a nation is to unite the people. Once elections are over, every actor must work together to deliver on campaign promises and return to the trenches closer to the next set of elections. This was what we expected in 2015, but now in 2018, it is as if we are still running election campaigns as the political actors continue tearing at each other’s throats. This was the basis of my recent intervention in which I pleaded that we should borrow a leaf from Kenya and heal the wounds in our own land.
I’m sure President Muhammadu Buhari must have enjoyed a deep sonorous sleep last Wednesday night, June 6, 2018, after announcing the recognition of Chief Moshood Abiola as the authentic winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, and declaring the same June 12 as our true Democracy Day. Trust me, President Buhari deserves accolades and a standing ovation for this tough political decision. I really don’t care what motive(s) informed this extraordinary volte-face, but it is indeed a major coup against those who had obstinately and blatantly refused to do that which is right, fair and just.
There have been all kinds of conjectures on what must have happened to generate this veneration of Abiola and June 12 by President Buhari. Some have said the President is desperate to win substantial votes from South West Nigeria. Why not, all is fair in war. You must use what you have to get what you want. Others have concluded that President Buhari’s decision was fuelled by purely altruistic motives, and upon being nudged, he felt that it was auspicious to right this grave wrong and injustice 25 years after. Either way, I do not believe this is truly about votes. There is no guaranty that this decision, as beautiful as it is, can translate into more votes. For me, the most important thing is that the President has lifted a very heavy burden off his chest and shoulders and dumped it on all his previous predecessors, who lived in denial as if June 12 did not exist and Abiola was a ghost from outer space. What President Buhari has done is simply an act of courage and bravery. Indeed, he has enough muscles and foot-soldiers in the South West, led by the Jagaban, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as well as the power of incumbency and other appurtenances of government to do something so momentous and monumental as this on the altar of voting and political expediency. He could have wasted this glorious opportunity but God entered his heart and he took a leap of faith for fate. We must be charitable and magnanimoius enough to say “well done, for a job well done” and to give nonour to whom honour is due.
There are still many rivers to cross but my advice as always is that the President should resist the temptation of heating up the polity. There is nothing force can achieve that peace cannot achieve much better and cheaper. I have spoken with some of my brothers and sisters in the Abiola family. They are truly grateful and very happy that the President looked in their direction after suffering in silence for 25 agonising years. Chief Abiola did not deserve such cruel punishment for winning a free and fair election. His businesses also perished in the process. This was a classic example of man’s inhumanity to man. The time has come for all of us to come together, embrace and move Nigeria forward from our different corners. Never again should any Nigerian be victimised, humiliated and destroyed in the name of politics. Man shall not live by power alone. We brought nothing to the world, we shall take nothing from it.
This is not a time to taunt or witch-hunt anybody. Abiola was never a vindictive person. He was in the mould of uncommon statesmen like Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela, men of peace who taught our world the beauty of forgiveness and peaceful co-existence. Abiola did not fight with guns and bayonets but went to war with personal determination and conviction. He died, paying the supreme price with his blood, and that of so many other patriots who laid down their lives, so that democracy could flourish in Nigeria. Let every man live with his conscience and let’s leave vengeance to God.
I hope and pray this is the beginning of a new democratic dispensation in our country Nigeria. There is sweetness in doing good and only bitterness in doing evil.