• Unhappy with president over non-recognition of organiser of presidential poll
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and prominent Igbo leaders have given hard knocks to President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to honour Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, who headed the electoral commission that organised the June 12, 1993 presidential election, adjudged to be the most credible, so far, in the country.
The anger of the Igbo was aroused on Wednesday, when President Buhari declared June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day, instead of May 29, and singled out the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, the presumed winner of the presidential election; his running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and the late human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), for national honours of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) and Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), respectively, without listing Nwosu as a recipient.
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo President General, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who spoke to Daily Sun from the United States of America, said the Igbo are disappointed that the president refused to list their son, Nwosu, who conducted that election applauded today as the most credible in the country, alongside Abiola and others for honours.
An ostensibly angry Nwodo said: “Our president has a mental fixation, which does not promote national interest, whereas I agree that June 12 symbolises a true democracy day more than May 29, but, the selection of those to be honoured speaks volumes of Mr. President’s continuous tendency to see himself more of a Moslem leader than the national leader of our country.
“It is alright that Abiola should be honoured, but, it is questionable for Kingibe, who abandoned that mandate with Abiola and joined the government that overthrew the Abiola’s mandate, his is not an honour for upholding democracy. The only qualification that he (Kingibe) has is his proximity to the president. And that raises the question about the fairness of the president in his sense of judgment.
“Nwosu has almost been on exile since he conducted that election because of his capacity to stand against all pressures to ensure the correct results were declared.
“I thought this would have been an opportunity to single out the chairman of the electoral commission, who did what Nigerians have been yearning for, from that commission, and which we have never had from any other chairman after him. The non-recognition of Nwosu can be put as nothing except the fixation of the president that nothing good can come from East of Nigeria; we feel disappointed.”
Also, Founder and Presidential Candidate of the United Progressives Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie, agreed with Nwodo that President Buhari should have listed Nwosu together with the others honoured for the June 12, 1993 elections.
His words: “MKO Abiola deserves the honour that has been done to him. I agree that the real democracy day is June 12, but the person who made the people’s votes to be so reflected on June 12 was Nwosu; so he ought to be encouraged by given an honour if he has not been given one already. If the honour given to him already is not commensurate with the steps he took to protect our democracy, then the honour should be upgraded; some people have had their honours upgraded in the past.”