February 21, 2019
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Soyinka to Buhari: Stop praising ‘Abiola’s tormentor’

The posture of President Muhammadu Buhari to late military dictator, Sanni Abacha, is seemingly attracting discordant tones, including that of a Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, who wanted the president to take a stand between late MKO Abiola and him (Abacha).

President Buhari had few weeks ago while receiving Buhari Support Group (BSG) praised Abacha, submitting that no matter the opinion formed against the late military president, he (Abacha) built schools, roads and hospitals.

His comment attracted criticisms from Nigerians, who highlighted human rights abuses that occurred while Abacha held sway in administering the country.

Canvassing the same sentiment, Soyinka, a professor of literature, while speaking on Tuesday during the Special National Honours Investiture at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, described the line of thought of the president to be confusing and urged him (Buhari) to halt the confusion by making his stand known to Nigerians.

Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12 presidential election, and others were among those honoured by Buhari.

The president had last Wednesday announced his decision to confer Abiola the GCFR title and also declared June 12 as ‘Democracy Day’.

“As we inaugurate hall of fame, we should inaugurate hall of shame on another hand,” Soyinka noted, adding that ”Hall of Shame should be in line with Hall of Honours.”

“Many unsung heroes and heroines. The torture, dehumanizing of Nigerians were horrendous.”

In a clear tone to suggest his acceptance to the posture of Buhari on Abacha, Soyinka said “I will like to appeal to you to stop confusing Nigerians.”

“It is not possible to honor MKO Abiola in one breadth and praise his tormentor in another breadth.”

In another development, a human rights activist, Femi Falana, SAN, expressed concern at the spate of killings in the country, intimating the president of his plan alongside other international and local human rights activists to explore ways to bring killings in Nigeria to an end.

Falana, who also received an award for his role in the struggle that eventually restored democracy to Nigeria, lauded the president for recognising the contribution of late Abiola and other recipient of awards to the nation’s democracy.

“Mr. President, you have done well by this singular gesture.

“But before I end my speech, I must assure you that I and other human rights campaigners must fight to make sure that the killing of innocent Nigerians in the country stops,” he said.

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