Candidate of the National Republican Convention (NRC) in the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Bashir Tofa, has sent a coded message to President Muhammadu Buhari, on the recognition of his rival.
Asked by TheCable to comment on Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day and the posthumous award of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) to Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, the presumed winner of the poll, Tofa simply replied: “May God help Nigeria.”
Although his response gave nothing away, one of his associates later explained that Tofa is still studying the situation and would not want to comment “until the dust settles. It’s too early for him to comment.
“Let’s wait a few more days or weeks, while the wind blows where it should.”
Regardless, former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, said the decision to immortalise Abiola and Fawehinmi is a great boost to the nation’s democracy.
Oshiomhole, who also is an aspirant for the national chairmanship position of the APC, said: “I am glad with the decision of the president, especially by declaring June 12 Democracy day because the real democracy is not the day that people hand over power to their successors but the day to celebrate heroes of our democracy such as Chief Abiola andChief Fawehinmi.
“I congratulate the Fawehinmi family because Gani was dogged and resolute throughout the struggle and as a matter of fact it was as a result of the struggle by Gani and Abiola that some persons came to benefit as leaders later on.
“That is why I commend Mr. President for this great wisdom; this is the best way to honour those who laboured for this democracy.
“We know some leaders who, even though they come from the same zone with Abiola and Gani, were resolute in ensuring that June 12 was not declared as a day we celebrate our democracy.
“These men (Abiola and Fawehinmi) are known for their struggle for a better Nigerian and the blood of those who fought and died for this democracy have been atoned; for this great decision by Mr. President.”
When the election was annulled, the NRC said Tofa won it in what was a counterclaim to SDP’s position.
According to unofficial results, Tofa got a total of 5,952,087 (41.64%) of votes nationwide while Abiola, running on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), scored 8,341,309 (58.36%).
The total vote case was 14,293,396.
Abiola won 19 of the 30 states: Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Taraba and Yobe, plus the federal capital territory.
Tofa won in 11 states: Abia, Adamawa, Bauchi, Enugu, Imo, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Rivers and Sokoto.
The Kano-based politician is currently a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), having joined from the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) when opposition parties merged in 2013.