President Muhammadu Buhari’s apology on behalf of the country to the family of late MKO Abiola on Tuesday aroused emotional instability as personalities wept openly at the venue of the event.
The unexpected tendering of the apology by the President to the Abiola family took many of the guests by surprise and thus could not control their emotions.
The President apologised at the Special National Honours Investiture and award presentation to heroes of June 12, 1993, poll which was annulled by the defunct Ibrahim Babangida regime.
He said the decision to hold the event was not to open old wounds but to bury negative sides of June 12 and it ill-feelings, hates frustration and agony.
He, therefore, called on all Nigerians across national divides to accept the decision to correct the annulment of the June 12, 1993, poll in good faith.
“What we are doing is celebrating and appreciating the positive sides of June 12.
“The June 12 which reinstates democracy and freedom, the June 12 that overcome our various divides and the June that produces unity and national cohesion.
“This is the June 12 we are celebrating today and we will nurture it to our next generation
“Accordingly, on behalf of the Federal Government, I tender the nation’s apology to the family of late MKO Abiola who got the highest votes and to those that lost their loved ones in the course of June 12 struggle,’’ he said.
President Buhari asked for minute silence in honour of late MKO Abiola and those that lost lives in the struggle for the actualisation of June 12
NAN observed that highlight of the historic and emotional event was the conferment of the nation’s highest honour of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on late Abiola.
The Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) was conferred on both legal luminary Chief Gani Fawehimi and Amb. Babagana Kingibe.
Kola Abiola, the first Son of the late Abiola received the posthumous award on behalf of his father, while Alhaja Ganiyat Fawehimi, wife of the social crusader, collected the award on behalf of her late husband.
The event attracted notable politicians of the third republic and members of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), National Republican convention NRC, NADECO Activists, Academics and other eminent Nigerians and friends who played a critical role in the country’s political history.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that former President Olusegun Obasanjo tendered an apology for not being the presence at the event because of his involvement in a book launch outside the country.
Former President Ibrahim Babangida equally tendered a similar apology for his absence because of some prevailing issues touching on his health conditions.