Don’t castigate Obasanjo for not immortalising Abiola ― Okupe

FORMER spokesperson to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr Doyin Okupe, has urged Nigerians not to castigate his boss for not honouring the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 election, late Chief MKO Abiola.

Okupe stated this in his remarks at a commemorative lecture organised by the Ladi Adebutu Development Organisation to mark June 12 celebration with the theme: “June 12: The Yoruba Race In A Reunited Nigeria,” in Abeokuta, on Wednesday.

The former Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan said any attempt by the former president to immortalise would have been met by stiff opposition from the northern politicians and leaders.

He submitted that only a strong president from the Northern part of the country can institutionalise June 12 without any eyebrow from any section, saying that his former boss only avoided issue(s) that could be generated if he had recognised June 12 as Democracy Day.

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The chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said “there is no better person; there is no better government that can institutionalise June 12 except government headed by a strong northerner, otherwise it will create serious controversy.

“Buhari by Providence has been well-placed. He is not just an ordinary northerner, but a very strong one that a lot of northerners have respect for, that even if they disagree (with him) they will not vent their disagreement. They will hold their peace. And therefore, it was easier for him to do it. We give God the glory that it has been done. Delay is not denial.

“When they started Sharia in Zamfara State, Obasanjo publicly endorsed it and allowed it. No northern president can do that effectively without incurring major riot. Those who can complain and those who can show dissension, because it was one of their own that endorsed it (June 12) also kept quiet.”

The convener of the lecture, Hon Oladipupo Adebutu said Abiola could be best immortalised if the country could conduct free and fair elections like June 12.

Adebutu, a former member of the House of Representatives, maintained that June 12 remained the foundation of Nigeria’s contemporary politics.