Former Senate Presidents, Iyorchia Ayu, told President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, that his worst enemies are those around him and not the opposition.
Senator Ayu said this during the Special National Honours Investiture at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari conferred the national honour of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic on late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, as well as his then deputy, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and late activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi.
Ayu, a chieftain of the defunct Social Democratic Party, the platform the late Abiola ran on for the June 12 president election, urged Buhari to be more tolerant of the opposition.
“Your worst enemies are those people around you who turn everyone against you. All Nigerians are your friend and they love you.
“Mr President, I said this because the opposition is not an enemy, although in the military, you kill opposition but not in a democratic dispensation.
“In the democratic dispensation, opposition is not an enemy. People believe that you are unforgiven but this event has shown otherwise. I urge you to be more tolerant.”
In his remarks, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and rights activist, Femi Falana, advised Buhari to wage a meaningful fight against poverty.
He also commended Buhari for the posthumous award conferred on Abiola and recognition of June 12 as Democracy Day.
“Let me tell you what late Abiola would have wanted you to do; we want you to engage Nigerians to wage a meaningful fight against poverty in the country,” he said. We have enormous resources to make Nigerians happy.
“Section 16 of the Nigerian constitution ensures that the collective wealth, commonwealth of Nigerians remains in the hands of the masses and not in the hands of a few.’’
Falana condemned the “flagrant abuse of rights of Nigerians” by security operatives. He urged the president to direct security forces to respect the right of every Nigeria in the spirit of June 12.
He assured that Nigerians, especially human rights groups, will support the government in the effort to quell the acts.
Falana said the “human rights community in the country will work assiduously with your administration to put an end to the reckless killing of our people. Mr President, we want to thank you very tremendously for recognising June 12. Some people are saying you should declare the result; you have declared the result,” he said.
“We now know the winner of that election officially, who is now being honoured with the order of GCFR reserved for heads of government in Nigeria.
“Before this regime, we have had seven governments that pretended that June 12 never existed. In the words of Abiola, we were clapping with one hand, but, today, we are clapping with two hands.”