The senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye has frowned at the President Muhammdu Buhari’s conferment of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR, title on Moshood Abiola, 25 years after allegedly winning Nigeria’s presidential election.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that Mr Buhari, on June 6, conferred on Mr Abiola a GCFR title and also declared June 12 as the country’s new Democracy Day in honour of the deceased democracy Icon.
However, giving his reasons for the objection, Mr Melaye cited Chapter 43(2) of the National Honours Act, arguing that the act does not allow for conferment of the honours on non-Nigerians.
According to him, Mr Abiola is dead and that automatically makes him not to be a Nigerian.
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“I am a democrat, I believe very sincerely that Chief M.K.O Abiola deserve even more than the president has pronounced because he is a true patriot, philanthropist and should be so decorated.
“But Mr. President, we are governed in the country by the constitution and extant laws. No matter how beautiful a situation is, the law of the land remains the law of the land,” Mr Melaye noted.
He added: “Subsection 2 of the act says a person shall be eligible for appointment to any rank or holder unless he is a citizen of Nigeria.
“A dead man is not a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We should not be emotional about this. The law remains the law.”
Mr Melaye also argued that the act provides that such honour be conferred on the recipient in person and since Mr Abiola is dead, he cannot receive the award.
“Subject to the next notice, a person shall be appointed to a particular rank of an order when the president receives him in person.”
“Mr. President, they said in person for us to do what we are supposed to do, we would have to amend the provisions of this act because anything we need to do, we have to do in accordance with the provisions of the law.”
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, announced that his points of order were noted.