The candidate of the National Republican Convention (NRC) in the 1993 presidential election, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day and the recognition of the late MKO Abiola, saying the decision is lopsided.
In a press statement he issued at the weekend, Tofa who was Abiola’s major challenger in the said poll said the matter deserves more serious consideration than what the government has done, adding that Tuesday’s event showed the one-sidedness of the process.
Tofa, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), also said although he appreciated those who believe he should also have been honoured, he would not accept it as it is, even if he was given a title.
He said, “Whatever may be the prevailing sentiment and politics in Abuja, the idea that June 12 should be the new Democracy Day is also a matter that deserves serious reconsideration”.
Noting that he does not begrudge MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12 election, he reminded those who might have forgotten that the late Abiola was his personal friend.
“Our relationship dated back to the Second Republic when I was the National Financial Secretary of the then ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and he was the Ogun State Chairman of the party”, he added.
Tofa noted that since it was announced that President Buhari had decided to honour Abiola and officially recognise him as the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election in which he was a candidate, his friends, well wishers, former political associates and journalists have inundated his phone with calls.
He continued: “While some worry about the brazen one-sidedness of this curious presidential action, especially given the list of invitees to Tuesday’s event at the Villa supposedly to mark ‘Democracy Day’, there are also those who canvass that I be so honoured with a similar award of GCFR, if the motive indeed was noble and meant to serve the end of justice.
“As much as I appreciate the goodwill in this circumstance, however, I have to say that I would not accept any award as it is, even if given”.
“While I do not begrudge the president over his power to bestow favour on whomsoever he pleases, it is also important, especially for history, for all actions from the highest authority in the country to be based on fair play and law.”
Faulting the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day, Tofa said, “Meanwhile, whatever may be the prevailing sentiment and politics in Abuja, the idea that June 12 should be the new Democracy Day is also a matter that deserves serious reconsideration. Such decisions should be beyond some political cold calculations.
“Finally, like all, I am also travelling on the path prepared for me by God Almighty. He controls my destiny and I pray He will continue to favour and to guide me. All Power belongs to Him alone. He gives it to whom He pleases and He Has Power over all things, including every ambition”.
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