June 12: Fasanmi, Adebanjo welcome gesture

TWO prominent Yoruba learders Senator Ayo Fasanmi and Chief Ayo Adebanjo reacted yesterday to the renaming of the National Stadium in Abuja after the late Chief MKO Abiola by the Federal Government.

Fasanmi, who is the Leader of Afenifere (Egbe Itesiwaju Yoruba), hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for the gesture.

He said Buhari’s decision to immortalise Abiola was a good development and a response to Nigerians’ demand that the winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election should be honoured by naming a national monument after him.

He said: “The Nigerian in general and the people of Southwest in particular are happy that Buhari has healed the wound of June 12 which his predecessor failed to address.

“Buhari made us happy by declaring June 12 democracy day and immortalising Abiola. It was a recognition of June 12, 1993 presidential election and Abiola as the winner. We are very grateful with Mr. President.

“His decision is popular among Nigerians irrespective of ethnic or religious affiliation. The resolution of June 12, 1993 presidential election question, we will get it right in this country from now.”

Read also: June 12: Triumph of truth over forces of evil

Also speaking, Chief Adebanjo urged the Federal Government to go beyond the renaming of the national stadium and address other pervasive issues facing the country.

According to him, Nigeria’s problem was beyond the naming of structures or edifices after the acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election.

He urged President Buhari to address growing insecurity, declining economic power of the people and decaying infrastructure donning the landscape of the country.

Adebanjo said: “The President naming of the national stadium after Chief M.K.O Abiola is a welcome decision. However, I am not carried away by this action even though he declared June 12 as democracy day.

“We have all been clamouring for restructuring, the country is lopsidedly governed. A section of the country is the one having the upper hand in the management of the affairs of the country.

“Those who are not northerners who voted for him are not trusted because of the lopsidedness in the distribution of offices. I am not carried away by this symbolic declaration for Abiola. People have been talking of Fulanisation, herdsmen killings what has been his comment about this?

“There are many issues begging for response which the President has remain silent about.”

One of the late Abiola’s children, Hafsat-Abiola Costello said last year when the late politician was honoured with the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) award, that the President Buhari was the least expected to offer such gesture.

She told Buhari: “If anyone had told the Abiola Family that it is you who would do us this honour, we would never have believed it. You honoured my dad despite the relationship that existed between you and him. You touched my heart.

“You even apologised for the annulment that you never caused. You touched my heart. Let me, on behalf of the Abiola family apologise to you too, to forgive my dad for whatever sin he might’ve committed against you and your family. Please, forgive him. Thank you, Your Excellency.”