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FG Declares June 12 Democracy Day, MKO Abiola Conferred with GCFR Title

Valentine Chinyem

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President Muhammadu Buhari, has announced the cancellation of May 29 as Democracy Day, and selected June 12 as the new date to mark the end of the country’s long military rule.

The President disclosed this via his official Twitter handle @MBuhari and a letter signed by him to this effect was tweeted as well.

The tweet announced Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, as Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR), while Baba Gana Kingibe, Abiola’s running mate during the election, and Gani Fawehinmi, one of Nigeria’s foremost rights activist, now late, are also to be confered with Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).

The statement read: “For the past 18 years, Nigerians have been celebrating May 29th, as Democracy Day. That was the date when for the second time in our history, an elected civilian administration took over from a military government. The first time this happened was on October 21st, 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 12 1993 cancelled elections. His running mate as vice president, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, is also to be invested with a GCON.

“Furthermore, the tireless fighter for human rights and the actualization of the June 12th elections and indeed for Democracy in general, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN is to be awarded posthumously a GCON.”

With the latest announcement, June 12 will henceforth be recongnised as the Official date to mark Nigeria’s Democracy Day, with a public holiday.