Reps in rowdy session over Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day


The House of Representatives was in a rowdy session on Thursday over President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.

The reason for the rowdiness was that while some lawmakers supported it, others asked the president to rescind his decision immediately.

Some of the lawmakers also kicked against the honour given to Chief Moshood Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12,1993 presidential election while some who spoke on the issue said there was need to ensure the rule of law is followed regarding the matter, while others spoke in favour of the president’s decision.

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday directed that effective 2019, Nigeria’s Democracy Day, marked every May 29 for the past 18 years, be shifted to June 12 to honour Abiola who won the polls but he was never formally declared winner and was not sworn into office by the military government of General  Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.).

Instead, he was imprisoned by then military dictator, Sani Abacha, while struggling to actualise his mandate. He eventually died in prison in 1998.

Successive governments have refused to heed to the call for Abiola to be honoured and for the federal government to recognise June 12 as democracy day.

President Buhari said on Wednesday that Abiola will now be conferred with nation’s highest honour, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR). The honour is exclusively conferred only on presidents and former presidents.

The government also said Mr Abiola’s running mate in that election, Babagana Kingibe, is to be conferred with the second highest honour of the Grand Commander of the Niger, GCON and the late Nigeria’s foremost pro-democracy activist, Gani Fawehinmi be given GCON.

It was in the news on Wednesday that a former chief justice of Nigeria, Alfa Belgore, described the posthumous award of national honours as illegal.