The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has told President Muhammadu Buhari that bestowing a posthumous national award on the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election and democratic icon, Chief MKO Abiola, does not make him (Buhari) a democrat.
The PDP supports in full, any honour done by the nation to the memory of Chief Abiola and all that he stood for, but rejects the inclination by President Buhari to use the occasion to posture as a democrat and desperately seeking to garner votes ahead of 2019 Presidential election.
This is because the Buhari Presidency has unapologetically violated and still violating, with gross impunity, all democratic tenets for which Chief Abiola suffered, died and is being honoured.
Nigerians still hold that President Buhari has not considered it necessary to apologize for staging the military coup that destroyed democratic governance on December 31, 1983, suspended our 1979 Constitution, foisted siege mentality on Nigerians and set the stage for a long despotic military rule for which Chief Abiola, his dear wife, Kudirat and other democratic martyrs ended up paying the supreme sacrifice to restore.
Rather than apologising for his roles in those dark ages, President Buhari recently boasted of violation of human rights during his regime as military head of state including locking up citizens in prison without trial; the same injustice which Chief Abiola later suffered under General Sani Abacha.
This is a leader under whose current watch our democracy has been subjected to the worst kind of abuses as even documented by international bodies, including the United States Department of State, Amnesty International (AI) and Transparency International (TI).
Chief Abiola, in his life time, stood for personal liberty of citizens, particularly, the right to aspire for any position; respect for constitutional order and principle of separation of powers, national cohesion as well as a free press, all of which were upheld by the PDP.
It is however a notorious fact that all these freedoms are being trampled and strangulated under this Buhari Presidency, even as the national cohesion, which was the watershed of the June 12 election, is being daily assailed under the watch of President Buhari.
PDP therefore urges the Buhari Presidency to save the nation the international opprobrium of attempting to use the event for political capital and to posture President Buhari as a democrat, whereas his Presidency has an unparalleled disdain for democracy and democrats.
While the PDP congratulates the family of late Chief Abiola and other martyrs of democracy, we also remember the roles of the late Senator Abraham Adesanya, Bagauda Khalto, Dan Suleiman, Raph Obiorah, Alex Ibru, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Pa Ajayi Laniwun and a host of others, as well as the Management and Staff of the Concord, Guardian, Vanguard, Punch and other media houses, who suffered undue hardships for our nation to attain this democracy.