By Nasir Kura
President Muhammadu Buhari Monday assented to the Public Holiday Amendment Bill passed by the National Assembly.
Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Mr Ita Enang, announced this while briefing State House correspondents in Abuja.
He said the new law officially recognised June 12 of every year as a public holiday and Democracy Day.
He said May 29 would now be inauguration and handing over date of a new administration.
“By the act amended and signed by Mr. President, May 29 is no more a public holiday. June 12 is now a public holiday and the country’s Democracy Day,” he
The presidential assent is coming 48 hours to the celebration of June 12 as the country’s maiden Democracy Day.
Since return of democracy in 1999, May 29 had been observed as Democracy Day.
The federal government had shifted major events for the president’s inauguration to June 12.
Former Minister of Information and Culture, Nr Lai Mohammed, said during a world press conference that in Abuja that world leaders had been invited to attend the Democracy Day on June 12.
“The decision to have a low-key inauguration for the President was taken at the meeting of Federal Executive Council of Wednesday 8th of May, 2019.
“Invitations have been sent to all world leaders to attend the ceremonies marking the observance of the democracy day on June 12.
“Since the first observance of democracy day falls on an election year, and as a measure to sustain June 12 as democracy day, the celebration of the inauguration and the advancement of democracy in the country will now take place on June 12,” he said.
The president had on December 6, 2018, made proclamation on June 12 as the country’s new Democracy Day to honour the late Moshoif K. O. Abiola following years of agitations by the pro-democracy advocates and civil society activists.
“We cannot rewind the past but we can at least assuage our feelings, recognise that a wrong has been committed and resolve to stand firm now and ease the future for the sanctity of free elections.
“Nigerians will no longer tolerate such perversion of justice. This retrospective and posthumous recognition is only a symbolic token of redress and recompense for the grievous injury done to the peace and unity of our country,” he said.
The president said by moving past the negatives of the struggle, Nigerians would be able to fully benefit from June 12
“Our action today is to bury the negative side of June 12 – side of ill-feelings, hate, frustration, and agony. What we are doing today is celebrating the positive side of June 12,” he said.