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June 12: Tinubu hails MKO Abiola, promises to ease subsidy removal pains 

PRESIDENT Bola Tinubu has hailed the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola.

He described the late businessman who died in suspicious circumstances after his election was annulled by the late Gen Sani Abacha, as the symbol of democracy.

Tinubu, who acknowledged the hardship being faced by Nigerians in the aftermath of the fuel subsidy removal, said his administration will “reward” their sacrifices with “massive investment” in transportation infrastructure, education, regular power supply, healthcare, and other public utilities that will improve their quality of life.

The President who said he identified with the pain of Nigerians argued that the temporal discomfort was necessary to save the country from going under.

“I feel your pain. This is one decision we must bear to save our country from going under and take our resources away from the stranglehold of a few unpatriotic elements,” Tinubu said in his maiden Democracy Day address to Nigerians as President.

In his inaugural speech on May 29, the President stated that subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources. Therefore, it had to go.

Recall that aftermath of Tinubu’s announcement was the increase in petrol pump price from N195 to N537 nationwide, alongside an ancillary price increase.

Addressing the aftermath of the move, he said, “It is for this reason that, in my inauguration address on May 29, I gave effect to the decision taken by my predecessor-in-office to remove the fuel subsidy albatross and free up for collective use the much-needed resources, which had hitherto been pocketed by a few rich.

“I admit that the decision will impose an extra burden on the masses of our people. Painfully, I have asked you, my compatriots, to sacrifice a little more for the survival of our country.

“For your trust and belief in us, I assure you that your sacrifice shall not be in vain. The government I lead will repay you through massive investment in transportation infrastructure, education, regular power supply, healthcare, and other public utilities that will improve the quality of lives.”

Speaking of the rule of law, the President said his administration will not condone conflicting and illegal orders that undermine Nigeria’s democracy.

He also described the bill he signed into law on June 8 for the harmonisation of the retirement age for judicial officers as one of many policy reforms to come.

“For Chief MKO Abiola, the symbol of this day, in whose memory June 12 became a national holiday, democracy is eternal.

“It is about the rule of law and vibrant judiciary that can be trusted to deliver justice and strengthen institutions. It has become imperative to state here that the unnecessary illegal orders used to truncate or abridge democracy will no longer be tolerated.

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