THE Senate has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to formally declare Moshood Abiola and Babagana Kingibe as winners of the June 12, 1993 general election, and therefore pay them the outstanding benefits due to the office.
This was part of a five-point resolution adopted by the upper legislative chamber during Thursday’s plenary.
The resolution followed a motion moved by Lanre Tejuosho, from Ogun State, who commended Buhari for declaring that Nigeria’s Democracy Day will henceforth be marked on June 12 every year in commemoration of the cancelled 1993 election.
Contributing to the motion, Biodun Olujimi, praised Buhari as the only President who has given a thought to what Abiola and his family went through fighting the democracy that Nigerians now enjoy.
“Going further, there are issues to be addressed so that we can be confident that this is not a Greek gift,” Olujimi said.
“This is the time for the result to be properly announced by INEC, because government is a continuum, and declare Abiola as a president. Entitlements should be granted to the winners.
“Baba Gana kingibe should be recognised as vice-president. June 12 should be declared a public holiday. All recommendations must be brought to parliament for legislative action.”
Similarly, Ahmed Lawan, Majority Leader of the Senate, pledged continued support for President Buhari for entrenching democracy.
“Buhari has shown clearly what a democracy is. The parliament should continue to support the government to further entrench democracy,” Lawan said.
“For the first time, Nigerians elected candidates based on their credibility. Somebody from Kano who contested against Abiola was defeated in Kano. That is the kind of sentiment Nigerians should always have.”
However, the senate resolved that the handover day should remain on May 29, as moving it to June 12 would require constitution amendment.
Summarising the discourse, Bukola Saraki, Senate President said beyond the technicalities and legalities of the issue, it must be acknowledged that the whole essence was to recognise Abiola’s contributions to the growth of democracy in Nigeria.
“For many years, it was long overdue. The good intention is what we should recognise. There might be imperfectons in how it was implemented but let us for today take the good intention,” Saraki said.
“In the spirit of all those imperfections, we should not allow that to cloud what Chief M.K.O Abiola is.”