(Silas Amie)-As the Nigeria’s government under President Muhamadu Buahri Tuesday tendered unreserved apology to the late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election-considered to be the fairest and freest in the nation’s political history, and to all those who sustained the agitation for the election to be de-annulled, the people of Ogoni ethnic nationality in Rivers State are crying out to the federal government to sooth frayed nerves in the area over alleged unjust killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others in 1990 by the military regime of late General Sanni Abacha by granting them presidential pardon.
It would be recalled that Buhari recently took Nigerians by surprise when he announced the replacement of May 29 with June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day as well as honours for late Chief Abiola and his running mate in that election, Babagana Kingibe as well as late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, notable human rights activist of his time.
On Tuesday, Buhari made good his promise by honouring Abiola with the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR, the highest in Nigeria, while Kingibe and Fawehinmi were honoured with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON.
At the occasion, Buhari said: “We recognise that an error has been committed.
“We will no longer tolerate such perversion of justice.
“This honour is for the grievous injustice done to the country.
“It is meant to assist at healing the wounds and building national reconciliation of the 25 years of wounds caused by the annulment.
“I earnestly urge Nigerians to accept it in good faith and bury the past of June 12.
“We are celebrating June 12 as a democracy sustenance, freedom, unity and national cohesion.
“It will impact positively on the next generation.
“I tender the nation’s apology to the family of MKO Abiola; also to those who struggled and stood for June 12.”
While the actions of the federal government are being applauded by Nigerians, leader of Kagote, apex Ogoni organization, Peter Mede is imploring the president to sooth the frayed nerves of Ogonis in Rivers State by granting presidential pardon to Ken Saro-Wiwa, an environmentalist and seven others, who, according to him were killed unjustly by Abacha’s regime in which, incidentally, General Buhari(retired) served as chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund.