Alhaji Bashir Tofa

Late Moshood Abiola’s opponent in the 1993 presidential election, Bashir Tofa, on Sunday opposed the declaration of June 12 as Nigeria’s new democracy day by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Tofa was the candidate of the National Republican Convention (NRC) in the historic election.

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He said in a statement on Sunday that he did not begrudge the posthumous honour accorded to Abiola, but insisting that the right thing must be done at all times.

Abiola was the presumed winner of the election, which was annulled by the then Nigerian leader Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.

And President Muhammadu Buhari on June 6, 2018, declared June 12 as the new democracy day and conferred a posthumous GCFR honour on him.

The President also conferred a national honour on Baba Gana Kingibe and recognised late Gani Fawehinmi for his role in the actualisation of the June 12 elections.

“June 12 ,1993 was the day when Nigerians in millions expressed their democratic will in what was indisputably the freest, fairest election since our independence,” Buhari said.

“The fact that the outcome of that election was not upheld does not distract from the democratic credentials of the process.”

In his statement, Tofa said, “It is important, for the benefit of history, that all actions from the highest authority in the country be based on fair play and law.

“Whatever may be the prevailing sentiment and politics in Abuja, the idea that June 12 should be the new democracy day is also a matter that deserves serious reconsideration.

“Many people are worried about “the brazen one-sidedness of what he describes as the curious presidential action, especially given the list of invitees to Tuesday’s event at the villa supposedly to mark ‘democracy day.’’