President Muhammadu Buhari is set to formalise the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day, earmarking the day for the celebration of his second term of office inauguration.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told State House Correspondents yesterday that although the president would be inaugurated on May 29, the ceremonies commemorating it would hold on June 12.
He, however, said the ceremonies would be low-key.
Mohammed said the decision to organise a low-key inauguration event was taken at the last Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting of May 8, 2019.
According to the minister, world leaders who had been invited to grace the president’s inauguration would be received on June 12 during the ceremony, adding that the move is aimed at deepening democracy, more so that this year’s June 12 as the new Democracy Day falls into the election.
Mohammed, who also said details of the event would be unfolded on Monday, added that shifting the ceremony to June 12 had become imperative because the country could not afford to organise two ceremonies within two weeks.
Mohammed said: “President Buhari’s inauguration for a second term on May 29, 2019, will be a low-key affair, as a number of the events slated for the inauguration will now be held during the first observance of June 12 as the National Democracy Day.
“The decision to have a low-key inauguration for the president was taken at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday, 8 May 2019. However, 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 June 12 as Democracy Day falls into 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.
“The country can ill-afford two major celebrations within a two-week interval. Details of the events slated for the two ceremonies will be unveiled at a world press conference slated for May 20th in Abuja.”
Buhari had last year, recognised June 12 as the new Democracy Day in commemoration of the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by the late Chief MKO Abiola but annulled by the military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.
The bill intended to change democracy day from May 29 to June 12 is still under consideration in the National Assembly.
Buhari also last year posthumously recognised Abiola as a past Nigerian president. He also recognised his running mate, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, as a former vice-president while the late foremost human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, who was at the forefront of the battle for the actualisation of June 12, was also posthumously honoured.