The Nigerian President, Mr Mohammed Buhari has declared June 12 a democracy day. He made this known through his Twitter handle last Wednesday.
In expression of his happiness Mr. Buhari twitted “I’m delighted to announce that, after due consultations, the Federal Govt (Government) has decided that henceforth, June 12 will be celebrated as Democracy Day.
June 12, 1993 was and is far more symbolic of Democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29, or even October 1, said Mr. President in his press release issued via the same avenue.
June 12, 1993 was the day millions of Nigerians expressed their Democratic will in the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections since our Independence. That the outcome of that election was not upheld by the then military government does not detract from its democratic credentials, he added.
In the same medium, Buhari announced the posthumous awards to the late Chief MKO Abiola and late Chief Gani Fawehinmi. Late Chief Abiola was awarded with GCFR, the highest honour in Nigeria. Chief Abiola was the presumed winner of the June 12 1993 presidential elections annulled by the then military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida.
Also the award of GCON was conferred to late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN; and Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe who was Chief Abiola’s running mate as the Vice President.
He described late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, as a tireless fighter for human rights and democracy, and for the actualization of the June 12, 1993 elections.
Mr. Kingibe will be honoured either by directly receiving the national awards from Mr. President in a ceremony organized for it as stated in the Section 3 (2) of National Honours Act No 5 of 1964 which says “… a person shall be appointed to a particular rank of an Order when he receives from the President in person, at an investiture held for the purpose”. Or be honoured in line with Section 3(3) which states: If in the case of any person it appears to the President expedient to dispense with the requirements of paragraph (2) of this article, he may direct that that person shall be appointed to the rank in question in such a manner as may be specified in the direction.
This is the first time a Nigeria’s sitting president honours the dead with the cardinal national honours.
Link to the press release:
Dear Nigerians, I am delighted to announce that, after due consultations, the Federal Govt has decided that henceforth, June 12 will be celebrated as Democracy Day.
We have also decided to award posthumously the highest Honour in the land, GCFR, to the late Chief MKO Abiola. pic.twitter.com/VyYftmvWKA
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) June 6, 2018