6th June, 2018
By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday announced that Democracy Day will henceforth be celebrated on June 12 of each year.
The president said after due consultations, the Federal Government has decided that henceforth, June 12 would be celebrated as Democracy Day.
A statement signed by the president said for 18 years, Nigerians had been celebrating May 29 as Democracy Day, saying that was the date when for the second time in Nigeria’s history, an elected administration took over from a military government, adding that the first time was October 21, 1979.
“But in the view of Nigerians, as shared by this administration, June 12th, 1993, was far more symbolic of democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29th or even the October 1st.
“June 12th, 1993 was the day when Nigerians in millions expressed their democratic will in what was undisputedly the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections since our independence. The fact that the outcome of that election was not upheld by the then military government does not distract from the democratic credentials of that process.
“Accordingly, after due consultations, the Federal Government has decided that henceforth, June 12th will be celebrated as Democracy Day. Therefore, government has decided to award posthumously the highest honour of the land, GCFR, to late Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12th, 1993 cancelled elections.
“His running mate as Vice President, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, is also to be invested with a GCON. Furthermore, the tireless fighter for human rights and the actualisation of the June 12th elections and indeed for democracy in general, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, is to be awarded posthumously a GCON,” he said.
Buhari added that the commemoration and investiture would take place on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, a date which in future years would replace May 29th as a national public holiday in celebration of Nigeria Democracy Day.