June 12: Ohanaeze, Don blast Buhari for sidelining Humphrey Nwosu in those deserving honour

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The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and a university professor have chided 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.

They spoke in reaction to Buhari’s proclamation of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day, instead of May 29, and his singling out of the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, the presumed winner of the presidential election; his running mate, 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.

Nwosu conducted the June 12, 1993 presidential election, adjudged to be the freest and most credible in Nigeria’s history. The acclaimed winner of that election, MKO Abiola, will now get a posthumous GCFR as directed by President Buhari.

The Ohanaeze Ndigbo President-General, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, 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.

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 speaking, the Dean, Faculty of Law at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Prof. Joy Ezeilo has decried President Muhammadu Buhari’s non-recognition of Prof Humphrey Nwosu, former Chairman of defunct National Electoral Commission of Nigeria, NECON.

She said, “I commend President Muhammadu Buhari for honoring Chief MKO Abiola by this declaration, I urge him to accord Prof Nwosu similar recognition because without that result declaration, it will still be unclear who won the 1993 election.

“Prof Nwosu, against all odds and threats to life announced the result. I strongly think he deserves presidential national award while still alive than waiting to posthumously receive it,” the academic said.

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