The Action Peoples Party (APP) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of hijacking its idea without credit in declaring June 12 as Democracy Day.
The presidency had in a statement on Thursday announced June 12 will now be celebrated in Nigeria as Democracy Day in honour of Moshood Abiola, who won the annulled presidential election of June 12, 1993.
The Buhari government said Mr Abiola, who died in July 1998, will also be conferred with the nation’s highest honour, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR), along side his running mate in that election, Babagana Kingibe, who will be conferred with the second highest honour of Grand Commander of the Niger (GCON).
Mr Abiola was arrested in 1994 in the course of the struggle to claim his mandate and later died in custody in July 1998.
The statement by the president has been followed by diverse reactions as some are happy with the president while others like the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dismissed the move as borne out of hypocrisy and political desperation ahead of the 2019 presidential election.
The APP in a statement on Thursday by Ikenga Ugochinyere, its National Chairman, also said it is a desperate move to woo the South-west and pro-democracy votes.
“APP is shocked to see that the President Buhari-led federal government has now graduated to hijacking ideas of true democrats without giving due credit in a desperate bid to secure lost South West and pro-democracy block votes.
“Few months ago, we launched our party’s healing and national reconciliation agenda, which includes the ceremonial declaration of M.K.O Abiola the winner of the June 12 election and also the enactment of a legislation called the June 12 Act which will declare June 12 of every year as our National democracy day.
“We presented the draft bill to the public on live television to express our readiness to heal the wounds of the past and honour our fallen democratic hero.
“APP is in awe that a president who has not done a single creative thing since his election in 2015 would in his desperation to woo South West and pro-democracy votes attempt to hijack a well-thought out initiative of the APP without giving credit to the initiators of the idea.”
The party said the announcement of June 12 as Democracy Day celebration by Buhari was a mockery of the June 12 struggle.
“To see Buhari pretend to be on the side of June 12 because of his desperation to garner lost goodwill from South West and pro-democracy block is a joke taken too far when the same president few weeks ago was seen praising the former dictator Abacha whose regime denied Nigeria the chance to have an Abiola presidency.
The party therefore declared it will be taking legal action within 48 hours if the president does not give them credit for their newly launched political manifesto and agenda.
The party provided a link to a video in its statement but the video on the link will not play as it showed “this video has been removed by the user”.
PREMIUM TIMES tried to reach the chairman of the party to know what the content of the video that failed to play was and what it had to do with the story. But he was not picking his calls.
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