Why Obasanjo did not honour Abiola Okupe

Former presidential spokesman, Dr Doyin Okupe, yesterday, defended former President Olusegun Obasanjos failure to immortalise the acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola.

Obasanjo had at various times come under attack for not honouring Abiola, his townsman and fellow Yoruba, who was believed to have won the 1993 presidential election election.

But Okupe who spoke in Abeokuta at the maiden edition of a commemorative lecture to mark June 12 Democracy Day, which was organised by Ladi Adebutu Development Organization, absolved his former boss of the blame.

He argued that Buhari was well-placed to honour Abiola than Obasanjo, as he envisaged that much controversy would have followed if it was Obasanjo that rolled out the honour.

The PDP chieftain recalled that when Sharia was instituted in Zamfara State, Obasanjo openly endorsed it, arguing that it would have been difficult if he (Obasanjo) was a president of northern extraction.

The politics of Nigeria is so intricate. When they started Sharia in Zamfara, Obasanjo publicly endorsed it and allowed it. No northern president can do that effectively without incurring major riot. But those who can complain and those who can show dissension, because it was one of their own that endorsed it, they kept quiet.

There is no better person, there is no better government that can institutionalise June 12 than a government headed by a strong northerner otherwise it will create serious controversy.

Buhari by providence has been well-placed. He is not just an ordinary northerner; he is a very strong one that a lot of northerners have respect for. Even if they disagree (with him) they will not vent their disagreement. They will hold their peace.

And therefore, it was easier for him to do it. We give God the glory that it has been done. Delay is not denial, he said.

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