President Muhammadu Buhari has brought reconciliation and healing to Nigeria by recognising June 12 as Democracy Day in Nigeria, Hafsat Abiola, daughter of Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential election, said on Tuesday in Abuja.
In an emotion-laden speech to thank the Federal Government after the conferment of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Chief Abiola, Hafsat said the award and President Buhari’ apology to the wrong done to his father and the people of Nigeria, meant so much to her.
Hafsat was invited by her senior brother, Kola to speak on behalf of the Abiola family after he received the posthumous award for his father.
‘‘It is difficult to try to stand in the shoes of a giant of one of the greatest human beings that the world ever had. But that is the responsibility that I bear today.
‘‘Even for Chief MKO Abiola, it was difficult to imagine how he would speak to Nigerians in his inauguration speech.
‘‘My mum told me how he would stand in front of the mirror, preparing the speech because the results were coming in and he taught he would surely deliver the speech.
‘‘You know he was a stammerer and he would start … fellow Nigerians and he never really got pass fellow Nigerians. He would say a few words and then reply not like that, and he would start again,’’ Hafsat said
According to Abiola’s daughter, his father’s love for Nigerians was unparalleled and he preferred to die for Nigeria rather than compromise on the integrity and sovereignty of the nation.
‘‘Although he was Yoruba he loved Hausas, Kanuris, Efiks, Igbos and all, you just needed to be a Nigerian,’’ he said.