The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to respect the laws of the country if he truly wants to honour the late MKO Abiola.
The party made the demand in a statement on Wednesday by their National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan.
They issued the statement hours after the President announced June 12 as Nigeria’s new Democracy Day, to honour Abiola – the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election.
President Buhari, who also conferred a posthumous GCFR title on the late businessman and philanthropist, explained that June 12 would replace May 29 because it is more symbolic.
But the opposition PDP believes there is more to the President’s announcement than honouring Abiola, claiming it might not be distanced from political reasons.
Amid the party’s allegations of prosecution of perceived political opponents, they said, “If President Buhari genuinely wants to honour Chief Abiola, he should do so by ending all anti-democratic proclivities of his administration and allow for the rule of law and respect for our constitution.”
They further alleged that the President’s action smacks of hypocrisy and political desperation ahead of the presidential election in 2019.
The PDP accused President Buhari of seeking to use the name and person of Abiola to gain a political capital, insisting that his action was not out of genuine reverence and recognition for the late philanthropist.
They claimed that while serving in the military administration of General Sani Abacha during the travails of Abiola, President Buhari did not associate either by words or actions with the late winner of the June 12 election.
The party also purported that history did not record the President as sympathetic to the Abiola family when his wife, Kudirat, was murdered.
“It is, therefore, a sign of political desperation for President Buhari to seek to use Chief Abiola’s name as a tool to sway Nigerians in less than twelve months to an election where he, (President Buhari) is seeking a second term.
“It is also shocking that the respectable grave of Abiola can be dishonoured by granting a posthumous award on him along with someone who denounced the June 12 mandate and preferred the company of his (Abiola’s) traducers,” the party alleged.
They question Abiola’s recognition by the All Progressives Congress (APC) government when some members of the ruling party were opposed to the naming of University of Lagos after him by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
The PDP, however, said the purported desperate actions in the quest to win the 2019 presidential election should be shed, stressing that Nigerians can no longer be deceived by such.