The Senate under the leadership of Bukola Saraki on Thursday passed the Public Holiday Act Amendment Bill to recognise June 12 as the new Democracy Day.
It would be recalled that Chief MKO Abiola of the SDP in 1993 contested the election with NRC and won but was not allowed to rule by the then military administration under General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB). The election which was and still regarded as the most free and fair elections ever conducted in Nigeria was annulled.
The bill to recognise June 12 as the Nigeria’s new democracy day was sent to the senate almost a year ago by President Muhammadu Buhari was passed to bill by the senate under the leadership of Senator Burkola Saraki on Thursday, that the new date June 12 would replace May 29 for Nigerians to commemorate the return to the civilian government.
While some members of the National Assembly had criticised the President that Democracy Day cannot be changed by just a declaration, others commended his decision by it has now been passed to law as required by the standard ethics of governance and the constitution.
President Buhari’s declaration was later approved in the Senate by an act of parliament after the lawmakers considered the bill seeking to amend the Public Holiday Act on Thursday.
The bill, which is in concurrence with that of the House of Representatives, will now be forwarded to the President for assent for full implementation.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on June 6, 2018 announced June 12 as the new date which Democracy Day would be celebrated in the country, to honour the presumed winner of the 1993 presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola, who was fondly known as MKO.
He explained that the date was more symbolic of democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29, or even October 1.
The President had also conferred a posthumous GCFR title on Abiola, while his running mate in the election, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, got a GCON national honour.
Also the House of representative have adopted June 12 as the new Democracy Day.