June 12: The Letter MKO Abiola Would Have Written To Buhari
Following announcement by President Muhammadu Buhari that the Democracy Day holiday that usually holds every May 29, in commemoration of the Day that effectively marked the end of military rule in Nigeria leading to successful handover to civilian authorities, has been moved to June 12, being the date the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola contested and reportedly won the June 12, 1993 presidential election, and conferment of the nation’s highest honour, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR, on him, meanings have been read into it and many have wondered if MKO Abiola would have accepted the offer by Buhari if he was still alive.
Abiola was a well known, highly respected and celebrated philanthropist, detribalized Nigerian who was non-discriminatory in his association with the major religions in Nigeria. It was then little wonder that when he contested the election in 1993, Nigerians from all walks of life irrespective of tribe and religion voted massively for him.
Below is the kind of letter I imagine Abiola would have written to Buhari with regard to the honour bestowed on him.
Your Exccellency Sir,
It was with profound humility and heartfelt gratitude that I received the news of your decision to bestow upon me our great country’s highest honour, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR, alongside my running mate at the 1993 presidential election, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, as GCON, as the acclaimed winners of that historic election.
Since the announcement was made I have been inundated with calls, messages and visits by family members, friends, associates and Nigerians in general, some of who congratulated me for the rare honour done me as they see, and rightly so, this honour as the just and fair culmination of my personal, collective and long struggle for the emancipation of Nigerians from abject poverty, injustice, insecurity, massive infrastructural decay, endemic corruption and such other socio-political and economic malaise that have bedeviled our nation from independence but which has become worse in recent times without any hope to turn the situation around.
While many have continued to congratulate and rejoice with me, many more have asked if I would accept the honour considering that the principles and vision that compelled me to throw my all into the murky waters of Nigerian politics despite my globally acknowledged success in business have continued to elude our good people and nation.
If anything, ‘Hope’ which was the slogan of our campaign then has been totally obliterated from the psyche of Nigerians today. Our people from all walks of life threw away their fault lines, jettisoned their ethnic and religious differences and voted massively for us in that election, even though it was a Muslim/Muslim ticket, as an indication of their resolve to confidently and firmly place their hope in me, a man they saw as one of them and freely associated with, for a better nation. I have therefore spent the last few days in solemn reflection and sober consultation with my Creator on the right decision to take at this time.
All my life, I have always stood for justice, equity and fairness to everyone irrespective of tribe and religion, virtues that are not difficult to see in my businesses. The truth is that our country has never been so divided as she is today under your watch.
Recall that the same goodwill that attended my election in 1993 was again on display in 2015 when Nigerians decided to also place their hope in you for a better nation. When you came on board as president of our dear country, I had no doubt whatsoever in my mind that you had all it takes to rebuild the nation and move it forward from where you met it and even create an atmosphere where it would be possible for Nigerians to vote for a Christian/Christian or Muslim/Muslim ticket without much ado.
But never did anyone ever think that your promise during the campaigns to fight corruption would not only be selective, adorned with media drama and razzmatazz but also viciously executed without prosecutorial decorum or processes and flagrant display of executive power, a situation that has seen so many high profile corruption cases lost in court where it matters most.
While I commend you for attempting at all to fight corruption, I am sad to remind you that the selective fight against corruption is the chief of corruption. I have observed with grief how many politicians who had corrupt cases against them before you became president seem to have suddenly become lords and dons again once they defect to your party, the APC.