President Muhammadu Buhari has officially conferred the title of Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on the late Chief MKO Abiola on Tuesday, June 12, 2018.
Abiola was the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election which was annulled by then-military Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida. After Abiola refused to give up his mandate, he was imprisoned in 1994 where he died in custody under suspicious circumstances on July 7, 1998, four years after his arrest.
At the investiture ceremony which took place at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday, the president presented the post-humous award to Abiola's son, Kola Abiola.
After the presentation, President Buhari 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.
He said, "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.