Mrs Hafsat Abiola-Costello, daughter of the late MKO Abiola has hailed the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day by the Federal Government.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari made the declaration in a statement he personally signed on Wednesday.
He said the government shared the view of Nigerians that June 12 was more symbolic than May 29 or even Oct.1 as Democracy Day .
“June 12 ,1993 was the day when Nigerians in millions expressed their democratic will in what was indisputably the freest, fairest election since our independence.
“The fact that the outcome of that election was not upheld does not distract from the democratic credentials of the process”, he had said.
The president also announced the decision of government to give a posthumous national award of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) to Abiola, the presumed winner of the election.
Buhari also said Abiola’s running mate, Amb.Baba Gana Kingibe and late late Gani Fawehinmi, a leading fighter in the June 12 struggle would be awarded the GCON national honour.
Abiola-Costello,in a statement on Thursday in Lagos said the declaration had ended the family’s long wait for government to recognise their father.
She described the declaration as a succour and a triumph of justice after 20 years of waiting.
Abiola thanked Buhari for recognising their father at last ,praying for “more days of triumph of justice over injustice”
“There are no words that can capture the depth of my gratitude nor the breadth of my joy.
“I thank God that I am alive to witness many more days when justice triumphs over injustice, when arrogance and fraud and when the blood of our heroes reach from across the time to boldly claim the reward that their actions wrought.
“May the sacrifices of our past heroes and heroines never be in vain”, she said.
Another Abiola daughter, Wura Abiola also thanked the president for the honour done their father.
In her verified Twitter handle@wura_abiola, she said she was extremely glad that her father had been honoured after 20 years.
“Dearest Daddy, Bashorun Kashimawo# Abiola GCFR, wonderful to be able to write this 20 years after. Thank you#President Buhari”, she tweeted.
Also, the leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo told NAN that the declaration though belated was a welcome development.
He however urged the government yields calls for the restructuring of the country as that was what June 12 stood for.
“Although belated, it is a welcome development, but we believe that the June 12 struggle stands for restructuring of the country and that is what we want the government to do”, he said.
A former Minister of Information, Chief Tony Momoh also told NAN that the declaration was “a good development and good for democracy.”
Former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu said the declaration was a victory for democracy.
He also said he was delighted at the government’s decision to honour Fawehinmi, saying that, “Gani Fawehinmi lived for Nigeria.
“He tirelessly fought for human rights and respect for rule of law, Gani was a true hero who should be celebrated.”, Ribadu said.
Also speaking to NAN, Lagos Chairman of Alliance for Democracy, Mr Kola Ajayi said: “We welcome the declaration even though we think the president should have done it at inauguration; it is a good development and good for democracy.”