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Hafsat Abiola-Costello, daughter of MKO and Kudirat Abiola, took to poetry to celebrate the recognition of her father by President Muhammadu Buhari and the dual honour done for his memory.
President Buhari gave Abiola a posthumous honour that ranked him with all Nigeria’s leaders and also declared June 12, the day Abiola clearly won a democratic election that was annulled by Babangida’s junta, as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
Hafsat, who only a day before became the President of Women in Africa, was short of words, but instead sought the help of poetry to express her happiness and gratitude to Muhammadu Buhari, while at the same time chiding Obasanjo, a beneficiary of June 12, for ignoring MKO. Obasanjo did not even ask for a minute of silence for the Democracy martyrs on his inauguration on May 29, 1999, she noted.
Read her statement below:
“Dear friends, words cannot truly express how happy I feel. Here is President Buhari’s executive order declaring that June 12, the day of the election that my father won, would henceforth be Nigeria’s Democracy Day and conferring on my dad the title of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, a title reserved for presidents. Twenty five years after June 12…
I tried to capture my feelings in the (sort of) poem below.
Read Hafsat’s poem below:
Twenty five years after June 12: Our Long Wait for Justice is Ending
I had expected that the handover from military rule to democracy would be held on the 12th of June.
That would have signalled the completion of a circle that began with a dream deferred.
That became one fulfilled.
But I waited in vain.
The handover was set for May 29, a date pulled out of thin air, signifying nothing.
Then I thought that the chief beneficiary would ask the country to observe a minute of silence,
In memory of MKO, Kudirat, Alfred Rewane, Umaru Yar’Adua, Bagauda Kaltho, the thousands of students, the tens of journalists, traders and politicians who lost their lives fighting to actualise an unjustly annulled election.
Again, I waited in vain for he started his inauguration speech…
And nothing was said.
The first four years passed and it became clear that the goal was to erase the name of the man whose sacrifice paved the way for our democracy.
Those four years set the tone.
And I got tired of waiting
As it slowly became clear that to wait was to wait in vain.
I stopped expecting my country to do the right thing by my father and instead began to understand why Nigeria struggles to find patriots among its leaders.
Today when President Muhammadu Buhari gave an executive order to declare that June 12 was Nigeria’s Democracy Day;
To confer on MKO the title of GCFR, an honour reserved for presidents of the Federal Republic of Nigeria;
To confer on Gani Fawehinmi, the dogged fighter for justice, and my father’s running mate, Babagana Kingibe, the title of GCON, the second highest in the land;
And in one day, demonstrated to my bruised heart that integrity, fairness, honour were alive and well in a country for which both my parents had sacrificed their lives.
There are no words that can capture the depth of my gratitude nor the breadth of my joy.
I thank God that I am alive to witness this day.
May we live to witness many more days when justice triumphs over injustice, when sacrifice and service win over arrogance and fraud, and when the blood of our heroes reach from across time to boldly claim the reward that their actions wrought.
May the sacrifices of our past heroes and heroines never be in vain.