in ,

Buhari Hailed For Shifting Democracy Day To June 12

Afenifere, Yoruba socio-cultural organisation; Chief Ebenezer Babatope, former Minister of Transport; Iba Gani Adams, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland and Chief Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), a human rights lawyer, have hailed the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari recognising June 12 as Democracy Day, saying it will keep the date alive in the minds of Nigerians.

They, however, said the timing may be faulty due to the forthcoming 2019 general election, noting that the decision should be applauded by well-meaning Nigerians who are lovers of democracy.

Buhari Wednesday night reviewed the official date for marking Nigeria’s Democracy Day, pegging it on June 12 annually.

Since 1999, Nigeria has been celebrating May 29 as her Democracy Day.

Buhari said Abiola’s running mate, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, and the late human rights lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi, would be awarded Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON).

He said the Federal Government had also decided to award posthumously the presumed winner of the June 12 presidential election, the late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola,

“Dear Nigerians, I am delighted to announce that, after due consultations, the Federal Government 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.

“Chief Abiola’s running mate, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, is also to be awarded GCON.

Prior to this development, there had been clamours from the South West to officially recognise June 12 as Democracy Day.

“It is a good development because it keeps June 12 in the minds of Nigerians. It is an historical date that we can never forget”, said Babatope.

“The timing may be faulty because they are doing this very close to election but this decision should be applauded by every Nigerian”, he said. 

On its part, Afenifere said though the decision is coming towards an election year, it commend President Buhari given the fact that they have always insisted that June 12 and not May 29 is Democracy Day.

Afenifere also insisted that aside the GCFR title which is the highest in the country, Abiola should be recognised as a former president of Nigeria having won the freest and fairest election in the history of the country.

“We have noted what has happened. Though we know that this is another election season, but we accept this decision and commend the president because our position over the years is that June 12 is our Democracy Day and not May 29 and that MKO Abiola should be recognised as a former president of Nigeria.

“Well, the GCFR is the highest title in the land but we still want Abiola to be recognised posthumously as a former president”.

Also speaking, Iba Gani Adams, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, said while President Buhari deserves commendation for this lofty decision, he should take a step further by restructuring the country before the 2019 general election.

Adams, who described the decision to recognise June 12 as democracy day as great Ramadan gift, said the president will win the hearts of progressive-minded Nigerians if he can restructure the country before the election.

“I humbly welcome the decision. It is something we can call true reconciliation. As a Muslim, it is also a gift of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month of forgiveness, truth, fair play and loving others the way you love yourself.

“So, I commend the president for this historic decision and at the same time I am imploring him to do more on the basis of restructuring the country before the election so that Nigeria can truly move forward”.

Also speaking, Chief Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), a human rights lawyer, said though the 2019 election may be implicated by this decision, the president should be commended.

“Great for MKO Abiola and Gani Fawehinmi. But it looks like 2019 is implicated nonetheless. It is also good for President Buhari because after all past leaders could but did not do so”, he said.

GCFR to Abiola illegal — Ex-CJN Belgore

Meanwhile, the award of Nigeria’s highest national honour on late Moshood Abiola is illegal, a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, told an online medium Wednesday night.

Alfa Belgore, CJN from 2006-2007, said the national honours cannot be awarded posthumously, much less the GCFR, which is the highest honour in the land.

“It is not done,” Belgore said, noting that “it is for people living.”

“The only thing they could do is to name a place after him, but national honours award, no,” he added.

Belgore, chairman of the 2016 national honours committee, also said he “was not consulted” by the Buhari administration before the decision was taken.

Belgore said under the 1963 National Honours Act, only soldiers or other servicemen could be awarded posthumous medals for their bravery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

“Minna Security Prison Incident Is An Attack, Not Jail Break” – Francis Enobore

Actor Cum Politician, Kanayo O. Kanayo Declares Interest to Run for House of Rep. in Imo State