President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday directed that , henceforth , the nation ’s Democracy Day will be holding on June 12 of every year , as against the current arrangement where the ceremony holds on May 29.
Buhari has also resolved to honour the winner of the annulled June 12 , 1993 presidential election , Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, with the highest national honour , Grand Commander of the Federal Republic .
The President disclosed this in a statement he signed and made available to journalists.
He said he reached the decisions after due consultations.
Apart from Abiola, Buhari said he would also honour his running mate , Alhaji Babagana Kingibe ; and the late human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi , with the second highest National honour , the Grand Commander of the Niger.
He said their investiture would take place on June 12 .
The statement read , “For the past 18 years , Nigerians have been celebrating May 29 , 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 21 , 1979 .
“But in the view of Nigerians , as shared by this administration , June 12 , 1993 was far more symbolic of democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29 or even the October 1.
“June 12 , 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 12 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 Babagana Kingibe , is also to be invested with a GCON .
“Furthermore, the tireless fighter for human rights and the actualisation of the June 12 elections and indeed for democracy in general , the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAN is to be awarded the GCON .
“The investiture will take place on Tuesday June 12 , 2018 , a date which in future years will replace May 29 as a National Public Holiday in celebration of Nigeria Democracy Day .”
The late Abiola died in detention while struggling to actualise his mandate as contained in the annulled election.