A leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for taking an important step towards fully recognising June 12 as Democracy Day.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, had on Monday revealed the decision of the Federal Executive Council to move the second term inauguration ceremonies to June 12 while a low-key ceremony will be held on May 29 to comply with the constitutional provision which at present sees May 29 as the take-off date for elected officeholders.
In a statement on Tuesday released by Tinubu Media Office signed by Tunde Rahman, Mr Tinubu said President Buhari and the Federal Government commendation.
He said: “President Muhammadu Buhari deserves our thanks and congratulations for taking another important step towards fully recognising June 12 as Democracy Day in our country. The government moved the second term inauguration ceremonies to June 12 while events on May 29 would now be low-key swearing ceremonies in order to comply with the constitutional requirements covering the length of term for elected office-holders.
“By this wise yet visionary decision, the president has scored double: first he has accorded respect to the Constitution, which recognises May 29 as the date to inaugurate new terms of office while at the same time ensuring the country moves on the rightful path to formalising June 12 as new Democracy Day. This decision soundly balances current legal requirements with the quest for political justice.
“For this feat in moving the country in the right direction, President Buhari and the Federal Government deserve commendation.
“June 12 represents an important milestone in the annals of Nigeria’s democratic journey. It was the day Nigerians shunned ethnicity and religion to vote for that leader of their choice in an election adjudged clearly free and fair.
“To complete this process, that the president has started via Executive Order, we hope that the National Assembly act with reasonable dispatch in cooperation with the presidency to assure that the requisite constitutional amendments are enacted to fully establish June 12 as Democracy Day.
“As Nigerians we have a role to play: rededicate ourselves to democracy, peaceful co-existence, togetherness and the hope for a greater future, all of which June 12 represented.”
The process to accord June 12 recognition began last year when President Buhari officially named June 12 as Democracy Day by Executive Order.
Mr Buhari also recognised the winner of the June 12 election, MKO Abiola, by awarding him the highest honour, GCFR, usually given to presidents.
Mr Abiola’s former running mate, Babagana Kingibe, was also bestowed with the GCON award.