President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday apologised to the family of the late Chief Moshood Abiola for the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election which he won.
The president gave the apology in Abuja on Tuesday after conferring the title, Grand Commander Of the Federal Republic on Abiola.
“On behalf of the Federal Government, I tender the nation’s apology to the family of late MKO Abiola, who got the highest vote [in the election], and to those that lost their loved ones in the course of the June 12 struggle,” President Buhari said before getting guests to observe a minute’s silence in honour of those who died.
Buhari said his decision to revisit the annulled election was not an attempt to open an old wound but to put right what has wrongly been done.
He said it was clear that Abiola was already winning the election when the government of the day inexplicably cancelled it.
The decision to honour MKO Abiola and to declare June 12 Democracy Day followed years of clamour by the activists, statesmen, groups as well as the family, associates, friends, of the late businessman and politician.
And President Buhari believes it is important for Nigerians to accept the decision “in good faith” and help the nation move forward.
“We cannot rewind the past but we can at least assuage our feelings, recognise that a wrong has been committed and resolve to stand firm now and ease the future for the sanctity of free elections,” he said.
“Nigerians will no longer tolerate such perversion of justice. This retrospective and posthumous recognition is only a symbolic token of redress and recompense for the grievous injury done to the peace and unity of our country.”