President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja approved the conferment of national honours on three distinguished Nigerians who contributed immensely to the enthronement of democratic governance in the country.
They are Rt. Honourable, Chief Agunwa Anekwe, former Speaker, House of Representatives in the Third Republic; Senator Iyorchia Ayu, former Senate President in the Third Republic; and Senator Ameh Ebute, Senate President in the Third Republic.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha who announced this in his welcome address at conferment of posthumous national honours on Chief MKO Abiola, Chief Gani Fawehinmi and Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, said their investiture will take place at a later date.
“These awards serve as a public acknowledgement of their pivotal contribution to nationhood and a further demonstration of this Administration’s commitment to upholding the ethos of democratic governance,” the SGF said.
On the significance of the Federal Government’s proclamation of June 12 as “Democracy Day”, Boss noted that it was in recognition of the public acknowledgement of ”our heroes past whose supreme efforts laid the foundation for our nascent democracy.”
“Today marks a new dawn in the Nation’s political and democratic advancement signalling the deepening of our belief in the democratic principles of inclusiveness in governance and hope for a greater Nigeria.
“The monumental election that took place on June 12, 1993, represented the first time in the history of our nation that Nigerians voted not for tribe or creed or region but for their convictions, affirming their common heritage and unity of purpose,” he said.
The SGF also added: ”June 12, more than any other day, symbolized the varied struggles and sacrifices made by fellow citizens of this great nation, established democracy as our political system of governance, and opened a new chapter in the political history.
“It is in commemoration of this day, the spirit of which should be internalized in the consciousness of Nigerians of all ages and taught to our children and generations of Nigerians yet unborn, that this Administration has, in placing history in the right perspective, declared June 12 of every year as Democracy Day and as a national holiday”.
NAN reports that the highpoint of the event was the conferment of posthumous national honours on Chief Abiola, the presumed winner of the 1993 election, as Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) and Chief Gani Fawehinmi as the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).
The President also decorated Ambassador Babagana Kingibe with GCON at the ceremony.
The senior son of MKO Abiola, Mr Kola Abiola received the award of GCFR while Hajia Ganiat Fawehinmi also received the award of GCON for her late husband.
Ambassador Kingibe was present to receive his award of GCON.