Abiola deserves GCFR – Dino Melaye makes U-turn

Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi west, says the late Moshood Abiola, presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, deserves the award conferred on him by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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Melaye had faulted the decision to confer the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Abiola, saying a “dead man doesn’t deserve it.”

“No matter how beautiful a situation is, the law of the land remains the law of the land. Section (2) says ‘ a person shall be eligible for appointment to any rank or holder unless he is a citizen of Nigeria. A dead man is not a citizen of the federal republic of Nigeria.’ We should not be emotional about this,” the lawmaker had said on the floor of the senate on Thursday.

But in a statement on Sunday, Melaye said Buhari should recognise Abiola as president-elect.

He also asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare the official results of the 1993 election.

He said the executive should propose an amendment to the national honours act.

“Since last two days, I have been inundated with calls and text messages from well-meaning Nigerians especially my constituents, who want to inquire my exact position on the declaration of June 12 as the new Democracy Day and the conferment of the highest National Honours of GCFR on the late Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election,” the statement read.

“For the avoidance of doubt, my views and belief on the sanctity of June 12 and the place of the late Chief MKO Abiola in Nigeria’s democratic history, have not changed and will not. Hence, in my view, the decision by the federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari to honour the late business mogul was deserving and long overdue save for the attendant legal issues raised.

“It is a verifiable fact that I have canvassed for this recognition for Chief Abiola over the years, and granted interview to Channels Television two years ago, where I advocated for same.

“Let me make also it abundantly clear that while both chief Abiola and the late legal luminary, chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) deserved more than the GCFR and GCON Honours respectively to be bestowed on them posthumously next Tuesday, it is however important that the right thing be done in their memory should not have any blemish in the guise of the current debate for legality or otherwise of the historic Honours as we are witnessing now.

“I urge the federal government to do the needful and display sincerity of purpose by officially recognising Chief Abiola as President-elect and cause the official results of the June 12, 1993 presidential election to be released by INEC since President Buhari himself had admitted in the presidential order designating June 12 as Democracy Day, the most freest and credible election, and then the GCFR title will therefore have a meaning.

“If the right thing is done now by the federal government by proposing amendment to the national honours act 1964 to accommodate the current developments, no government in future will reverse the decision.”



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