By Queenesther Iroanusi
The Senate has passed the Public Holiday (Amendment) Act 2019.
The bill seeks to declare June 12 as Democracy Day in Nigeria. It also seeks to bring the Act in tandem with the current realities and exigencies of modern times.
The House of Representatives had in December 2018 passed and transmitted the bill to the Senate for concurrence.
Both chambers approved the amendments to three clauses in the Act and the clause carrying May 29 as Democracy Day was amended to June 12.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, in June 2018, directed that the nation’s Democracy Day would, henceforth, hold on June 12 of every year as against the current arrangement where the ceremony holds on May 29.
He also posthumously awarded the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election, Moshood Abiola, with the highest national honour of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR). The honour is exclusively conferred on presidents and former presidents.
The president further honoured Mr Abiola’s running mate in the election, Babagana Kingibe, with the second highest honour of the Grand Commander of the Niger (GCON).
One of the lawmakers who sponsored the bill at the House of Representatives, Edward Pwajok, said the pronouncement of June 12 as a public holiday would become effective as soon as the Public Holidays Act has been amended.
He also said May 29 would be celebrated every fourth year when there is an inauguration of a new president.