The Nigerian Senate, Thursday, passed the Public Holiday (Amendment) Act 2019, that makes June 12 as Democracy in the place of May 29.
May 29 has been Democracy Day since the return of democracy in 1999.
But last year, and 19 years on, President Muhammadu Buhari took a solid step to alter that to mirror the reality of the times.
On the 25th anniversary of that watershed in the nation’s political history, the president declared June 12 as Democracy Day, officially recognised the late Basorun M.K.O. Abiola as the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, and conferred on him, posthumously, the highest national honour in the land-the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR, an honour reserved for presidents.
Buhari didn’t stop there. He also honoured Basorun Abiola’s running mate in the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, with the second highest honour of the Grand Commander of the Niger, GCON. The national honour of GCON is exclusively reserved for vice presidents.
At the peak of his reign in Nigeria, the then military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, had annulled the freest presidential poll in Nigeria and threw the nation into avoidable political turmoil.
The bill that the Senate passed on Thursday, seeks to declare June 12 as Democracy Day in Nigeria; and bring the Act in sync with the current realities in the country and exigencies of modern times.
The House of Representatives had, in December 2018, passed and transmitted the bill to the Senate for concurrence.
Both chambers approved the amendments to three clauses in the Act and the clause carrying May 29 as Democracy Day was amended to June 12.
With the passage, Thursday, of the ‘June 12 Bill’, the nation now waits on President Buhari to sign it into law