LIVE UPDATES: Excitement in Aso Rock as top Nigerians gather for late MKO Abiola’s honour

LIVE UPDATES: Excitement in Aso Rock as top Nigerians gather for late MKO Abiola’s honour

Top Nigerians politicians, royal fathers, businessmen and supporters of the Muhammadu Buhari government are currently thronging the seat of power in Aso Rock, Abuja, for the posthumous award to the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential election, MKO Abiola.

The election was annulled by the military junta led by Ibrahim Babangida who has often claimed that powers beyond him were responsible for his action.

NAIJ.com brings you an update of all that happened at the event.

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1.59: Event ends President Buhari takes photographs with beneficiaries.

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1.55: Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state gives the vote of thanks and asks Nigerians to arm themselves with the PVC ahead of the 2019 elections so as to pick their right choices.

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1.35: Iyorcha Ayu, the Senate president on the platform of the SDP, recalls how he assisted in unifying members of the party ahead of the election. He, however, laments that the election was annulled. He appeals to Buhari to play politics by the rules and run things with the rule of law. He also urges Buhari not to see the opposition as enemies. He says the president's enemies are those around him who make him see others as enemies.

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1.23: He says President Buhari deserves a second term and that the election would not be annulled.

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1.21: He says Buhari remained resolute to put Nigeria back to self-recovery while saying that he knows an ex-president who would want to throw him out of the helicopter at the mere mention of June 12. He says Buhari has brought hope to Nigeria. He also argues that Nigeria does not pay for darkness any longer.

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1.15: Asiwaju Bola Tinubu commends Buhari and recalls how he and some other top Nigerians for passing the resolution that hit the military. He recalls one of his friends who hid inside a water tank when he was being searched for. He also recalls a northerner who refused a judge's bail with an argument that he and others detained must be released.

LIVE UPDATES: Excitement in Aso Rock as top Nigerians gather for late MKO Abiola’s honour

Kingibe, Osinbajo, President Buhari, Kola and Ganiat Fawehinmi. Credit: Presidency

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1.09: Jonathan Zwingina, the director-general of the Hope'93, the campaign of the SDP that produced Abiola as flag bearer, thanks Buhari and recalls some of the campaign slogans of Abiola. He also recalls the promise made by Abiola to eradicate poverty in Nigeria.

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1.03: Olusegun Osoba, a journalist and former governor of Ogun state, commends Buhari for deciding on the honour saying it was not late to correct the wrong. He prays for more courage for the president. He recalls how he suffered. "For one year I was in detention," he said adding that he was happy that the Abiola family apologised to Buhari because he understood how the coup of that year was planned.

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12.53: Wole Soyinka recalls how Abacha committed crimes against humanity saying he should not be respected because of the way he handled the June 12 struggle. He says the event is not the closure of the event. He says the closure would come by recognising those who witnessed the torture and dehumanisation of a military dictator.

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12.50: Falana calls on President Buhari to ask the nation's security and police to respect human rights in the spirit of the June 12 struggle.

LIVE UPDATES: Excitement in Aso Rock as top Nigerians gather for late MKO Abiola’s honour

The award of GCFR to Abiola

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12.47: Femi Falana thanks Buhari for the honour saying with the conferment of GCFR on Abiola, it has been proven that Abiola won the election. He urges Buhari to engage Nigerians to wage a meaningful war against poverty in the country. According to him, Nigeria has many resources.

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Kokori says it was not possible to remove a military dictator with bare hands or placards. He reveals that the labour movement let Nigerians down at the period but that NUPENG continued to give backing to the struggle. He gives 10 big names in the struggle.

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12.36: Chief Frank Kokori, a former head of NUPENG, which played an active role in the struggle, is called to speak.

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12.31: Bayo Onanuga of TheNEWS and the managing director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), says he cried when he heard President Buhari tender his apology and when he heard Hafsat Abiola-Costelo speak. He recalls that Bagauda Khalto, who was killed, met Buhari and that the president revealed why he was removed as a military head of state.

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12.26: Ayo Obe, a fiery human rights activist and one of those who struggled for the June 12, recalls that Abiola said Nigeria had been good to him and that it was time to be good to the Nigerian people. "We cannot understand the significance if we fail to recognise those who lost their lives. She said people like Beko Ransom-Kuti, Suliat Adedeji, Chimma Ubani, Bamidele Aturu, Festus Iyayi, Bagauda Khalto, lost their lives. She prays that they rest in peace.

LIVE UPDATES: Excitement in Aso Rock as top Nigerians gather for late MKO Abiola’s honour

Kingibe

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12.22: Kola Abiola thanks Buhari on behalf of the family for reconciling what he calls "our past".

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She recalls all the sufferings Nigerians went through in their support of her father. "Who would have thought that, give the relationship you had with Abiola, you would be the one to bring reconciliation?" She said as she also apologises on behalf of her father for anything he would have caused the president and his family.

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12.16: Hafsat Abiola-Costelo, one of Abiola's daughters says her mother once told her that his father stood before a mirror trying to prepare a speech as the results of the election was trickling in. She says he never went past "Fellow Nigerians" as he was thinking of the right words to use.

LIVE UPDATES: Excitement in Aso Rock as top Nigerians gather for late MKO Abiola’s honour

Abiola-Costelo

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12.10: He says the annulment brought new challenges with relationships broken and offence became inevitable. He, however, says the event is an opportunity to point accusing fingers. He says: "Abiola was snatched from us before his time."

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12.05: He commends Buhari for having the courage to make the proclamation. He calls Abiola his mentor adding that all Nigerians combined make June 12, 1993, a reality. He calls Abiola a true philanthropist who put in all its assets to the success of the election.

LIVE UPDATES: Excitement in Aso Rock as top Nigerians gather for late MKO Abiola’s honour

Buhari and Kola Abiola

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12.01: Babagana Kingibe says he accepts the honour of GCON on behalf of those on whose shoulders he and Abiola stood to attain the feat in 1993. He says June 12, 1993, was the day Nigeria chose its path to national prosperity as the people redefined the country through the ballot box.

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11.57: He says Gani Fawehinmi and Abiola showed passion in the fight to make Nigeria a great country. He pleads with politicians to make Nigeria a better place. He also pleads with Nigerians to support Buhari and tells the politicians not to see election as a do-or-die affair.

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11.55: Mohammed Fawehinmi says Buhari is the first reasonable head of state and the first too that has hearkened to the yearnings of the people. He declares that Abiola is not a perceived winner but the winner of the election.

LIVE UPDATES: Excitement in Aso Rock as top Nigerians gather for late MKO Abiola’s honour

Buhari and Kola Abiola. Credit: Presidency

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11.51: Chief Olusegun and Ibrahim Babangida apologise for not being able to honour the event. Obasanjo says he is not in the country while Babangida says he could not make it because of issues relating to his health. Humphrey Nwosu, the chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), is not also in attendance and says he is not in the country.

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11.47: June 12 is to overcome the national divide and would be nurtured to other generations. President Buhari tenders unreserved apology, on behalf of federal government. The president tenders unreserved apology, on behalf of the government, for the cancellation of the election.

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11.45: "Nigeria will no longer tolerate such pervassion of justice," he says adding that the award is just a token to heal the wound caused by the annulment of the June 12, 1993, election. He says though the annulment cannot be reversed, the wound can be healed.

LIVE UPDATES: Excitement in Aso Rock as top Nigerians gather for late MKO Abiola’s honour

President Buhari

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11.43: Buhari begins his speech. He says he is happy to be the president presiding over the award to the heroes. He says the action is to put right a national wrong. He says the government of the day inexplicably cancelled the election when it was sure that Abiola was winning the election.

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11.37: Kola Abiola, the late politician's first son, is called upon to receive his father's award, GCFR, on behalf of the family. Abiola's recitation is going on. He gets the award.

LIVE UPDATES: Excitement in Aso Rock as top Nigerians gather for late MKO Abiola’s honour

Buhari and Kola

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11.32: Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, the running mate of the late Abiola, is called upon for the award of the GCON honour. His recitation currently going on. Kingibe gets the award.

LIVE UPDATES: Excitement in Aso Rock as top Nigerians gather for late MKO Abiola’s honour

Babagana Kingibe being honoured

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11.30: Buhari hands the honour over to Ganiat the honour.

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11.25: Ganiat Fawehinmi is called to receive the honour of GCON on behalf of her husband, Chief Gani Fawehinmi.

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11.21: He says he took part in the election and the struggle and that as a matter of fact, he reported to Ambassador Kingibe about developments in the election from the situation room.

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11.16: He says late Chief Gani Fawehinmi showed his determination for Nigeria even in detention. He says June 12 established democracy and opened the a new political history. He says henceforth, June 12 will be public holiday in the country.

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11.14: He says the event is significant as it marks the government proclamation of June 12 as Democracy Day. "Today marks a new dawn," he says adding that the monumental election in 1993 showed Nigerians voting without sentiments.

LIVE UPDATES: Excitement in Aso Rock as top Nigerians gather for late MKO Abiola’s honour

Boss Mustapha

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11.13: Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, gives the opening remarks.

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11.10: The second stanza of the National anthem adopted and recited as the prayer for the event.

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11.06: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo sits close to Muhammadu Buhari. Other NADECO chieftains and leaders of the Afenifere Renewal Groups are also in attendance.

LIVE UPDATES: Excitement in Aso Rock as top Nigerians gather for late MKO Abiola’s honour

Buhari and Osinbajo

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11.03: President Muhammadu Buhari arrives venue. National anthem is recited.

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11.00: NAN reports that at the event, Bayo Onanuga, Ayo Obe of Civil Society Organisations and Chief Frank Kokori from Labour movement are expected to deliver goodwill messages at the event.

Others to deliver goodwill messages are Sen Bola Tinubu, Prof Wole Soyinka, Fidelis Tapgun, Chief Olusegun Osoba, Sen. Jonathan Zwingina and Mr Femi Falana.

LIVE UPDATES: Excitement in Aso Rock as top Nigerians gather for late MKO Abiola’s honour

The National Concord publication of the election in 1993

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10.18: The family of the late human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, who is to be honoured post-humously with the Grand Commander of the Order Niger (GCON) arrived at the Presidential Villa, Abuja

Fawehinmi’s wife, Ganiat, and her son, Mohammed, arrived Aso Rock. He tells journalists that his father’s efforts were not in vain and that the entire family members feel proud and honoured for the recognition accorded his late father.

Ganiat also recalls her husband’s plight in the hands of the military that annulled the June 12, 1993 presidential election.

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10.17: Femi Falana, a strong human rights activist and senior lawyer, who took part in the struggle against the military after the annulment of the election, arrives the venue.

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10.15: PODE (#weASOcial) also confirms that "Today, @AsoRock will posthumously award the highest honor of the land, GCFR, to late Chief MKO Abiola, the winner of the June 12 1993 canceled elections. Also, Amb Baba Gana Kingibe, Chief Abiola's running mate & the late Gani Fawehinmi will also be invested with a GCON. #June12."

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10.10: EIE Nigeria releases the full details of the June 12, 1993, election results as announced before it was annulled by the military.

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10.01: Festive atmosphere at the State House Conference Center, ahead of start of #June12 Investiture Ceremony. Family members of the honorees, June 12 activists and champions, pro-democracy campaigners, politicians, traditional rulers, have arrived.

NAIJ.com earlier reported that the federal government released modalities for the conferment of national honours on late multi-billionaire businessman and politician, Moshood Abiola; late prominent lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi and politician, Babagana Kingibe.

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