Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, were conspicuously absent on Tuesday as President Muhammadu Buhari, conferred National Honours on the heroes of June 12 struggle at the Conference Centre of the State House, Abuja.
Mr Saraki and Mr Dogara, were among dozens of eminent Nigerians and top government functionaries invited for the special investiture of the National Honour of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republuc, GCFR (posthumously) on late MKO Abiola; Grand Commander of the Order of Niger, GCON on Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and Grand Commander of the Order of Niger, GCON (posthumously) on late Gani Fawehinmi.
Surprisingly, neither the Senate President nor Speaker sent formal apologies as former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Military Head of State Ibrahim Babangida did.
The first Son of late Abiola, Mr Kola Abiola, received the GCFR award on behalf of the family, Amb Kingibe received GCON award in person while the first Son of Fawehinmi, Mohammed received on behalf of his family.
Recall that late Abiola and his running mate, Amb Kingibe, presumably won the June 12 presidential election under the then Social Democratic Party, SDP.
On his part, late Fawehinmi was at the forefront of the struggle for the actualisation of the June 12 mandate.
Recall that the then head of military junta, President Ibrahim Babangida, annulled the June 12 presidential election acknowledged worldwide as the freest and fairest election in the history of Nigeria and has been described as watershed in the country’s democratic journey.
In his welcome address, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha, said the investiture ceremony was significant and a new dawn in Nigeria’s democratic and political advancement.
He said nation building requires sacrifice, noting that the efforts of heroes of our democracy must be acknowledged and appreciated as we force ahead.