President Muhammadu Buhari has proclaimed June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day, instead of the usual May 29.
“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,” Buhari said.
He also announced the conferment of a posthumous award of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, GCFR on the late MKO Abiola.
“We have also decided to award posthumously the highest Honour in the land, GCFR, to the late Chief MKO Abiola,” he added.
Buhari also stated that late Abiola’s running mate, Baba Gana Kingibe would be awarded the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON.
“Chief Abiola’s running mate, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, is also to be awarded a GCON,” he said, adding that the late Gani Fawehinmi would also receive the GCON award.
“Furthermore, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, tireless fighter for human rights & democracy, & for the actualization of the June 12, 1993 elections,will be posthumously awarded a GCON,” Buhari disclosed.
“June 12, 1993 was the day millions of Nigerians expressed their Democratic will in the freest, fairest & most peaceful elections since our Independence. That the outcome of that election was not upheld by the then military Govt does not detract from its democratic credentials.
“In the view of Nigerians, as shared by this Administration, June 12, 1993 was and is far more symbolic of Democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29, or even October 1,” Buhari affirmed.
The late MKO Abiola was the presumed winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election, which was adjudged to be the freest and fairest in Nigeria’s electoral history.