By Sodiq Lawal
There are diverse reactions in Ile Ife, State of Osun, from stakeholders, residents, politicians and indigenes, groups and others at President Buhari’s recognition of June 12 as Democracy Day.
The President had on Wednesday directed that the nation’s Democracy Day will, henceforth, hold on June 12 of every year as against the current arrangement where the ceremony holds on May 29.
Buhari also resolved to honour the presumed winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola, with the highest national honour, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic.
He said he reached the decisions after due consultations. Apart from Abiola, Buhari said he would also honour his running mate, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, and the late human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, with the second highest national honour, the Grand Commander of the Niger.
The Coordinator of Ifeland Youths Movement, Mr Agbogunleri Oluwaseun hailed Buhari, saying he had succeeded where former President Olusegun Obasanjo failed.
“The decision is commendable and proper. I hope Nigerians will learn from it. June 12 was a watershed. We were united as a country to end the military rule. We shunned our differences to vote for Abiola. The election was peaceful. Buhari has the courage to do the right thing, which some thought was difficult. June 12 is the proper “Democracy Day” in Nigeria when people put their differences away.
“MKO Abiola sacrificed himself for the country. The chairman of the electoral commission at that time admitted that Abiola actually won the election. Therefore, I support the president on this. It is commendable because June 12 was a watershed,” he said.
Also, the Secretary of All Progressive Congress(APC) Ife Central branch, Mr Olufemi Francis said the president had warmed himself into the hearts of democracy-loving people, who had anticipated the immortalisation for a long time.
He said Abiola should now be properly recognised as a president-elect, adding that his portrait should be accorded its proper place among past Nigerian leaders.
The Chairman of Nigeria Union Of Teachers(NUT) Ife Central, Comrade Adelowo Adeyemi said the move by the President was highly commendable.
Adelowo said the President has done something his predecessors failed to do by righting the wrong of the past.
According to him, this singular act of President Buhari is commendable. “Though Abiola is no more but his legacy lives on. I join millions of lovers of democracy in commending President Buhari for that singular act.”