Presidential aspirant of the Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN, Dr. Thomas-Wilson Ikubese, has praised President Muhammadu Buhari for the honour bestowed on the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola and called on him to extend the honour to other heroes of the struggle for the actualization of the mandate.
Ikubese, who stated this at the silver jubilee of the June 12 celebration in Lagos, also called for the recognition of the historic role of Prof. Humphrey Nwosu in ushering the freest election in the country's history.
While calling on the president to extend the honour to all living and dead heroes of the June 12 struggle, the presidential aspirant also said that a monument that will contain all the names of those who played their part in the June 12 struggle and those who paid the supreme price should be erected in a befitting edifice to be named after MKO Abiola.
He said, "MKO Abiola deserves the honour and what we should be thinking of right now is to name a huge national edifice after him. Abiola was the man who personified democracy in Nigeria and the Field Marshall of all democratic warriors.
"When he is honoured, all the foot soldiers must also be recognized by engraving their names on a monument to be erected in a national edifice in memory of MKO. Those who contributed to the struggle for June 12 are indeed widespread."
He also stated that two major edifices still stand out that can be named after Abiola, adding that the National Stadium in Lagos and the National Stadium in Abuja are the type of edifices that can be named after Abiola, adding that the country should also not forget the chief umpire of the "undiluted election," Professor Nwosu, who he said deserves to be appreciated.
Also speaking, another presidential aspirant and the publisher of Sahara Reporters, an online news blog, Omoyele Sowore, said June 12 is also a day to remember journalists who either died or went through a terrible ordeal at the time when newspapers had to be published in neighbouring countries.
He said the government's conferment of the GCFR honour on Abiola was not based on the ideological significance of June 12 but on the date and actions of the day.
He said, "There is a thin line between June 12 as a date with history in Nigeria, June 12 as an action that took place and June 12 as an ideology.
"What this government has done is to reckon with the date and action of June 12, it not touched the ideology of June 12 and so in reckoning with the date and history of June 12, irrespective of what Abiola had done, you cannot forget June 12.
Explaining what the June 12 ideology entails, he listed transparent democratic processes, eradication of poverty, fiscal federalism or creating a balance in the appointment unlike sectional appointment and creating a country where hope can thrive.
"For me, what the government is pursuing is not the ideology of June 12 and so it is only when you're pursuing these ideologies that you can say Babagana Kingibe should not be reckoned with. Irrespective of what Kingibe had done, you cannot remove him from June 12 as the running mate to the presidential candidate. If we were to discuss the ideologies of June 12, so many people including those mouthing June 12 now would not be talking June 12. So many people that rode on the crest of June 12 to fame and power would not be discussing June 12," he added.
He said that the fact that Nigeria has come out of a 25 year long self-denial of realising the injustice done to Abiola and the Nigerian people was a consolation for him, adding that June 12 is also a day to remember journalists who either died or went through a terrible situation at the time where newspapers had to be published in neighbouring countries.
He added that whatever honour is done to Abiola, based on June 12, 1993, the same must be accorded the vice presidential candidate, unless he voluntarily says he is no more interested.
President, African Youth Initiative for Good Leadership, Gbenga Adewale, said that "The haters and lovers of June 12 from every Nigeria local government, state government, National Assembly and the Senate are benefiting from the democratic spirit of June 12 every day."
He stated that Abiola, the flagship of June 12 deserved the honour given to him, adding that generation yet unborn will live to appreciate the wonderful deeds of President Buhari.