The Senate has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to announce the results of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
The lawmakers made this demand on Thursday during plenary at the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The demand comes a day after President Muhammadu Buhari officially declared June 12 to substitute May 29 as Democracy Day, in honour of late MKO Abiola – the presumed winner of the election.
President Buhari had stated that June 12 was more symbolic than May 29 and also conferred a posthumous GCFR title on the late business mogul and politician.
The senate said Abiola and Babagana Kingibe; his Vice should be recognized are former President and former Vice President of Nigeria.
The upper legislative chamber also urged the federal government to pay all allowances and entitlements to late Abiola’s family and Kingibe.
Meanwhile, The House of Representatives was thrown into a rowdy session following the declaration of June 12 as democracy day by President Buhari.
The commotion which lasted for over 45 minutes, before it was brought under control by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, was the culmination of a motion of urgent public importance by Raji Olawale (APC, Lagos) for the recognition of the Presidential declaration of June 12 as democracy day.
Leading a motion on the debate, Olawale said June 12 remains a memorable day in the history of Nigeria. He extolled President Buhari for “finally listening to the voice of the people”
“June 12 was the very first time Nigerians, regardless of tribe or religion, voted massively for the duo of Abiola and Kingibe. If June 12 had been allowed to stand, Nigeria would not have been where it is today. That is why President Buhari finally listened to the voice of the people,” Olawale said.
Chris Azubogu (PDP, Anambra) agreed with Olawale that the declaration marked a watershed in the history of Nigeria and vindicated those involved in June 12.
Azubogu however, added that the declaration was incomplete for failing to recognize Prof. Humphrey Nwosu, the umpire who conducted that historic election.
“But one thing is missing, the umpire who conducted that historic election was not recognized,” he noted.
Toby Okechukwu echoed Azubogu’s stand that the declaration should have recognized those who conducted the election.
Okechukwu said: “June 12 is one of the things that symbolize this country. But some people conducted the election and are supposed to be recognized.”
Mr. Rotimi Agunsoyo (APC, Ondo) was concerned with the implication of declaring Abiola as the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
But it was Ossai Nicholas (PDP, Delta) who drew the attention of the lawmakers to item 51 of the exclusive legislative list, which subjects the declaration of public holidays to legislative ratification. Ossai described the President’s action as an “act of desperation.”
However, Speaker Yakubu Dogara, to the applause of his colleagues, drew the attention of Ossai to a portion of the Constitution that empowers the President to declare any day as public holiday without legislative ratification.
But Aliyu Pategi (APC, Kwara) read out from a subsisting Act of the National Assembly that actually declared May 29 as a nationally recognized “Democracy Day”
“We must make sure that whatever we do is recognized by our laws,” Pategi advised other lawmakers.
At this point, the House became divided between those in support and against the motion with shouts if “sit down,” “continue,” “we stand with Abiola” renting the air.
The Speaker who later brought the situation under control after about 45 minutes described the commotion as the beauty of democracy.
“This shows that democracy is alive,” the Speaker declared.
The Speaker admitted that certain corrective measures have to be taken to bring the declaration in tandem with existing laws.
“Section 2 of the law will override the provision of No.5 of the Schedule, which proclaimed May 29 as democracy day,” Dogara stated.
He then referred the matter to the Committees on Justice, Rules and Business to advice the House on the legal implications of the declaration and how to resolve it.
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