UPDATE: Senate passes bill establishing June 12 as Democracy Day

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Democracy Day
President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2018 conferring a post humous award on the Late Moshood Abiola

The Senate has passed a bill seeking to change Nigeria’s Democracy Day from May 29 to June 12.

The bill which originated from the House of Representatives, was unanimously adopted by senators during plenary.

Specifically, the bill seeks to amend the Public Holiday Act 2004 to make June 12 as the new date for Democracy Day to replace May 29, which marks the official handing over from military to civilian administration.

The bill is expected to be transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent, after it’s cleaned up by the Legal Services Department of the National Assembly.

The President had in June last year directed that the National Democracy Day be shifted from May 29 to June 12.

Buhari gave the directive while conferring a posthumous award on the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993, general elections, Moshood Abiola.

The June 12, 1993 presidential election is acclaimed to be the freest and fairest in the country’s history.

The results were annulled by the then military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida.

Although some media reports had claimed that President Buhari’s second term inauguration would hold on June 12, the Federal Government has since dismissed the reports.

Making the clarification, Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, explained that while the President’s inauguration will still take place on May 29 this year in a low-key manner, an elaborate ceremony will hold on June 12.

Briefing journalists in the State House, Mohammed said the decision to organise a low-key inauguration event was taken at the last Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting of May 8, 2019.

According to the minister, world leaders who had been invited to grace the president’s inauguration would be received on June 12 during the ceremony, adding that the move was aimed at deepening democracy.

Mohammed who also said details of the event would be unfolded on May 20, added that shifting the ceremony to June 12, had become imperative because the country could not afford to organise two ceremonies within two weeks.

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