Buhari urged Nigerians to accept the recognition in good faith.
President Muhammadu Buhari said he finally recognised the events of the June 12, 1993 presidential election and its major actors to heal Nigeria of its festering wound.
The president said this after he officially conferred the post-humous title of Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on the late Chief MKO Abiola on Tuesday, June 12, 2018.
At the investiture ceremony which took place at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday, Buhari urged Nigerians to accept the recognition in good faith.
He said, "Our decision to recognise and honour June 12 and its actors is in the national interest. It is aimed at starting a national healing process and reconciliation of the 25-year festering wound caused by the annulment of the June 12 elections. I earnestly invite all Nigerians across all our national divide to accept it in good faith.
"Our action today is to bury the negative side of June 12; the side of ill-feelings, hate, frustation and agony. What we're doing is celebrating and appreciating the positive side of June 12.
"It's a June 12 which reinstates democracy and freedom. It's a June 12 that overcomes our various divides and the June 12 that producess unity and national cohesion. This is the June 12 we're celebrating today and we'll nuture it to our next generations."
Buhari apologises to MKO Abiola's family for his death
The president further apologised to the family of the late Abiola, on behalf of the federal government, for his death in the struggle to hold on to his mandate.
Buhari said, "Accordingly, on behalf of the federal government, I tender the nation's apology to the family of late MKO Abiola who got the highest votes and to those that lost their loved ones in the course of June 12 struggle."
At the end of his speech, the president asked everyone in the Conference Hall to stand for a one-minute silence in honour of MKO Abiola and all those who lost their lives in the aftermaths of the annulled election.