By Eric Elezuo
One of Chief MKO Abiola’s daughter, Tundun Abiola, has written a passionate letter to President Muhammadu Buhari for magnanimously replacing May 29 with June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day, in addition to honouring him with the highest honour in the land, the GCFR.
Buhari had on Wednesday, contrary to all expectation, announced that Nigeria’s democracy day will no longer be on May 29 as has been celebrated since 2000 but will now be on June 12, the day a supposedly free and fair election was held in the country.
Tundun Abiola praised Buhari for his moral courage among other glaring qualities, stressing her joy that the honour was done by none other person than Buhari.
Below is the full text of the letter:
I write to offer my most heart-felt thanks for your historic gesture. I cannot overstate my appreciation as a citizen of our great country and as the daughter of a great man.
Thank you for displaying moral courage, leadership, equity, honesty and a noble example worthy of emulation. You have put right a grievous wrong and lifted a heavy weight. Of all the Presidents of the Fourth Republic, I am thankful that it was you and not the one who actually owed him. There is no debt or sentiment behind your decision. It is simply the right thing to do. Your acknowledgement of the winning Muslim/Muslim ticket of my father and Ambassador Babagana Kingibe GCON harkens back to a time when that was not unthinkable in Nigeria.
This yearly commemoration will remind us of who we were, Nigerians first. We were a nation that based judgments on competence, character and antecedents, not tribe or religion. Thank you for fanning the embers to restart the fire for national unity and brotherhood.
The immoral annulment of our freest and fairest election, my father’s four year incarceration without a fair trial and conviction by a competent court of law, his appalling neglect, suffering and then murder should have been the nadir of the tragic situation but it was not. I always thought you could only kill a man once but every time my father was referred to as the “presumed winner”, he was robbed and killed again. With every effort by some to diminish or entirely erase his contributions, he was robbed and killed again.
Every government since 1999 is a direct result of the struggle initiated by this man but the struggle would never have ignited without the support of other peerless Nigerians who fought alongside him. Contrary to every human instinct of fear, self-interest and self-preservation, people like Chief Gani Fawehinmi GCON challenged a brutal regime. It cost some their lives. My step-mother, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola was brutally, needlessly assassinated at the young age of 45 leaving behind seven children. I recall Chief Alfred Rewane, a man who died at the hands of far lesser men than himself for the offence of being an outstanding patriot. These and many others are Nigerians who invested their all into our country unlike those whose sole aim is to exploit. With a stroke of your pen, you have ensured that they did not die in vain. The weight of living with a grave injustice that Your Excellency has freed my family from is one that no Nigerian should carry. Perhaps your return to the leadership of this country was to heal not just the wounds of corruption and misrule but of all historical injuries since the Civil War.
In the words of our national anthem, “the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain”. May Your Excellency never labour in vain. God bless Nigeria.
With the highest regards,