Exclusive: Nigeria Contemplates June 12 As New Handing Over Date

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The Nigerian Government may have concluded plans to move the May 29 inauguration date of the new government to June 12, beginning from May 29, 2019, a top Presidency source has revealed.

Our correspondent gathered that the Federal Government decided to move the date from May 29, to June 12 following the official gazette of June 12 as Nigeria’s real democracy day in 2018.

It was leant that the committee saddled with the responsibilities of planning the inauguration of the new administration at the state and Federal level are working around the new date which is expected to be made public soon.

The source who spoke to our correspondent, on the condition of anonymity said the plan although not official yet is receiving the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari and top government functionaries and that a final decision on the new date would be taken soon.

“There are high level meetings and consultations going on about the plans. No definite decision has been taken on the matter yet,” the source who spoke to our correspondent, on the condition of anonymity said adding that once the matter is concluded “an official government statement announcing the change would be made. The plan for the change in the handing and taking over of government is on the discussion table. What I don’t know right now is when the announcement will be made”.

May 29 was officially chosen by the General Abdulsalami Abubakar military led government when democracy was reborn in Nigeria in 1999 and the date has remained as the nation’s democracy day.

Continuing, the source said “There is nothing sacrosanct about May 29 as democracy day in Nigeria. It has no historical relevance to Nigeria other than a mere date chosen by the military to handover government to a democratically elected civilian government. If you would recall, October 1 was initially the date for regime change in Nigeria but it was changed to May 29 and now the present government wants to move it to June 12 because it has been officially gazetted as Nigeria’s democracy day”.

It would be recalled that on June 6, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement he personally signed acknowledged June 12 as the nation’s real democracy day and thus proceeded to honour Chief MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the annulled June 1993 Presidential elections his running mates Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, Chief Gani Fawehimi and a hosts of other prodemocracy activists.

Buhari in the statement said “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,” the president said in the statement.

“Accordingly, after due consultations, the Federal, Government has decided that henceforth, June 12 will be celebrated as Democracy Day.

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