President Muhammadu Buhari has renamed the Abuja National Stadium as Moshood Abiola National Stadium.
He made the declaration in his speech during the first Democracy Day to be marked on June 12, at the Eagles Square, Abuja.
Pro- democracy activists and many Nigerians have for a long time pushed for the naming of a national monument after the late politician, who was believed to have won the June 12, 1993 presidential election that was later annulled by then military head of state, Ibrahim Babangida.
And in his speech at the Democracy Day event Buhari said, “As we all know, correcting injustice is a pre-requisite for peace and unity. As part of the process of healing and reconciliation, I approved the recognition of June 12 as Democracy Day and invested the late Chief M.K.O. Abiola and Babagana Kingibe with National Honours, as I did with the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi. The purpose was to partially atone for the previous damage done in annulling the Presidential elections of that year.
“Today, I propose the re-naming of the Abuja National Stadium. Henceforth it will be called Moshood Abiola National Stadium.”
The President also boasted that in his “first term, we put Nigeria back on its feet,” assured that his government is “working again despite a difficult environment in oil on which we depend too much for our exports.”
He added, “We encountered huge resistance from vested interests who do not want change, but change has come, we now must move to the Next Level.
“By the Grace of God, I intend to keep the oath I have made today and to serve as President for all Nigerians.”
Earlier in his speech Buhari had said:
“Twenty years ago, a democratically elected government took over from the military in a historic transfer of political power for our country. Today, we are privileged to mark the longest period of unbroken democratic leadership and 5th peaceful transfer of power from one democratically elected government to another in Nigeria.
“Throughout the last four years, I respected the independence of INEC. I ensured that INEC got all the resources it needed for independent and impartial management of elections in the country.
“All interested parties are agreed that the recent elections, which except for pockets of unrest, were free, fair and peaceful.
“I thank all the people who worked for our party, who campaigned and who voted for us. I thank my fellow Nigerians, who, since 2003 have consistently voted for me.
“Victory is your greatest reward; peace, unity and greater prosperity will be our collective legacy.”
Buhari, who recalled that he had in 2015 assured Nigeria of majorly tackling issues of security, economy and fighting corruption, said “None but the most partisan will dispute that in the last four years we have made solid progress in addressing these challenges.”
He said, “When I took the oath of office on 29 May 2015, insecurity reigned. Apart from occupying 18 local governments in the North East, Boko Haram could at will attack any city including the Federal Capital, could threaten any institution including bombing the United Nations building and Police Headquarters in Abuja.
“Admittedly, some of the challenges still remain in kidnappings and banditry in some rural areas. The great difference between 2015 and today is that we are meeting these challenges with much greater support to the security forces in terms of money, equipment and improved local intelligence. We are meeting these challenges with superior strategy, firepower and resolve.
“In face of these challenges, our government elected by the people in 2015 and re-elected in March has been mapping out policies, measures and laws to maintain our unity and at the same time lift the bulk of our people out of poverty and onto the road to prosperity.”