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June 12 proclamation act of courage and patriotism, says Okorie

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Chief Chekwas Okorie

National Chairman of United Peoples Party (UPP) Chief Chekwas Okorie has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his declaration proclaiming June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day and bestowing the posthumous award of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on late Chief MKO Abiola.

Speaking on the issue, Okorie said, “The proclamation and the awards to the principal dramatis personae of the June 12 presidential election is an act of courage, justice and patriotism.

The significance of the outcome of June 12 presidential election goes beyond the presumed winner of that election, Chief MKO Abiola.

“The positive implication of the result of that election includes the fact that if Nigerians could in a presidential election overwhelmingly vote for a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket as was the case of Abiola and his running mate Alhaji Babagana Kingibe.

We could have attained a greater national cohesion, unity, socio-cultural and religious tolerance and nationalism 25 years after such a historic and unprecedented mandate.

“It is unfortunate that Nigeria has retrogressed rather than build on the foundation laid on June 12,1993.

We do not agree with those who advance the argument that President Buhari was merely playing politics with such a monumental act of courage and patriotism.

In 25 years a number of administrations were persuaded, including public protests, for June 12 to be given special recognition and the late Abiola to be properly honoured.

“By our own assessment it was those that paid deaf ear to such a legitimate demand that played politics with the incidence of June 12, because they thought that it was politically correct to distance their administration from June 12.”

Okorie further appealed to President Buhari to take further step to honour Prof. Humphrey Nwosu who is still alive and who stood at the risk of his life on the sanctity of the June 12 presidential election.

“He practically went on self-exile for serving his country patriotically, diligently and with high degree of principle and integrity.

Nwosu had many options including declaring the election inconclusive.

All other options would have rendered June 12 a non-event.

Prof. Nwosu continued to live low profile almost to the point of being a recluse all because he served his country honestly and sincerely. 

It will therefore be incomplete if Prof. Humphrey Nwosu is not adequately and appropriately recognized for the role he played.

“For the sake of justice, encouragement and for the sake of motivating present and future National Chairmen of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the role of Prof. Nwosu in making June 12 a reality must not be down played or trivialized.”


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