By Luka Binniyat
ABUJA — THE House of Representatives yesterday threw out a motion sponsored by Patrick Obahiagbon (PDP/Edo) which sought to immortalise the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, presidential candidate of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) acclaimed to be the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election.
Obahiagbon, had in a motion appealed to the House to call on the Federal Government to immortalise the late politician who died on the July 7, 1998 in Federal Government’s custody.
Obahiagbon and 30 other lawmakers argued that Chief Abiola was elected in an election widely acclaimed to be the freest and fairest in Nigeria’s history, for which he lost his life, after Gen. Ibrahim Babaginda (rtd), then military President, cancelled the election for reasons still not clear.
“Abiola served humanity and sacrificed his life for the survival of democracy in the country”, argued Obahiagbon, adding that the election was held throughout the country in compliance with relevant laws in place at that time.
“The annulment of the election by Babangida was a violation of fundamental civil and political rights of Nigerians as recognised by the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights”, he said.
In her contribution, former Speaker, Patricia Etteh (PDP/Oshun), said that immortalising Abiola was a step in the right direction while describing him as a democrat.
Also, Mayor Eze, who spoke in support of the motion, said “immortalising the democratic virtues of the late Abiola would be a plus for the country’s democracy”
But, another member, Sani Audu, denounced the motion saying that Nigerians who voted during the June 12 elections rather than Abiola should be given the glory.
“There are other patriots including Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, late Sarduana of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello who fought gallantly and died for democracy in the country. They also deserve to be immortalised”, he said.
On his part, Suleiman Kawu, (PDP/Niger) said “honouring Abiola in that manner would be lopsided as other prominent Nigerians had contributed positively to political development of the country.”
In a voice vote, the majority sided against the motion.