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Buhari Declares June 12 Democracy Day, Honours Abiola With GCFR

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  • Buhari Declares June 12 Democracy Day, Honours Abiola With GCFR

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday directed that the nation’s Democracy Day will, henceforth, hold on June 12 of every year as against the current arrangement where the ceremony holds on May 29.

Buhari also resolved to honour the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola, with the highest national honour, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic.

The President disclosed these in a statement he personally signed and made available to journalists.

He said he reached the decisions after due consultations.

Apart from Abiola, Buhari said he would also honour his running mate, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, and the late human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, with the second highest national honour, the Grand Commander of the Niger.

He said their investiture would take place on June 12.

The statement read, “For the past 18 years, Nigerians have been celebrating May 29, as Democracy Day. That was the date when, for the second time in our history, an elected civilian administration took over from a military government. The first time this happened was on October 21, 1979.

“But in the view of Nigerians, as shared by this administration, June 12, 1993 was far more symbolic of democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29 or even the October 1.

“June 12, 1993 was the day when Nigerians in millions expressed their democratic will in what was undisputedly the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections since our independence.

“The fact that the outcome of that election was not upheld by the then military government does not distract from the democratic credentials of that process.

“Accordingly, after due consultations, the Federal, Government has decided that henceforth, June 12 will be celebrated as Democracy Day.

“Therefore, the government has decided to award posthumously the highest honour of the land, GCFR, to the late Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 cancelled elections.

“His running mate as Vice President, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, is also to be invested with a GCON.

“Furthermore, the tireless fighter for human rights and the actualisation of the June 12 elections and indeed for democracy in general, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, is to be awarded the GCON.

“The investiture will take place on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, a date which in future years will replace May 29 as a National Public Holiday in celebration of Nigeria’s Democracy Day.”

The late Abiola died in detention while struggling to actualise his mandate as contained in the annulled election.

Afenifere hails decision

The Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, hailed the declaration of June 12 as a national Democracy Day, noting that this was what it had been clamouring for over the years.

The group urged the Federal Government to go a step further by recognising the late Abiola as a former elected President of Nigeria.

Afenifere’s spokesperson, Yinka Odumakin, stated that the government should demonstrate that its decision was not a political gimmick by ensuring that “the spirit of June 12 prevails” in the forthcoming elections.

He added, “Though the GCON is the highest honour in the land, we want Abiola to be formally recognised as a former elected President of Nigeria.

“It is true that this decision is coming on the heels of another election in February 2019, the true test to demonstrate this is not a gimmick is to allow the spirit of June 12 to prevail in February in terms of free and fair elections where people can freely elect their leaders like it happened on June 12.”

Asked if he believed the decision was meant to buy popular political support, Odumakin noted, “That’s why I said another election season is here and promises and decisions made in an election year are subject to different interpretations, but, like I said, we accept it.”

Buhari’s move commendable – Okurounmu

In his reaction, Senator Femi Okurounmu, a former Secretary-General of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, said the move by the President was highly commendable.

Okurounmu, who represented Ogun-Central Senatorial District from 1999 to 2003, said the move had also put former President Olusegun Obasanjo to shame.

The Afenifere chieftain said all pleas to Obasanjo to honour MKO Abiola and declare June 12 a public holiday during his eight-year tenure were ignored.

He, however, said the Yoruba people should not be carried away by Buhari’s announcement given its timing, which is barely eight months to the Presidential election.

Okurounmu said, “It is a commendable act, and we appreciate him for that. Recognising the late MKO as the real winner of that election is long overdue. For us, June 12 had always been the authentic Democracy Day. May 29 was an insult to the Yoruba people. It was a mockery of the Yoruba.

“We appreciate him for honouring Abiola but we must not fall into any trap. Buhari is desperate for Yoruba votes. He knows he has lost the South-West and that is why he is doing this. This was how he lured us in 2015 with the help of Bola Tinubu. We must not fall a second time.

We are grateful to President Buhari – Ogun

In a statement signed on Wednesday night by the Secretary to the Ogun State Government, Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa, the state said, “We are grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for this recognition of an illustrious son of Ogun State and an icon of our democratic struggle, Chief MKO Abiola.

“President Buhari has shown with this action that he is a man that believes in justice and giving to every person his or her dues.

“Although this posthumous award may appear to some people to have come late, we thank the President. We urge all lovers of democracy and goodwill to continue to support the ideals for which Chief MKO Abiola lived and died for.”

Action smacks of desperation, hypocrisy –PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party, however, said the national honour to be conferred on Abiola by Buhari smacked of hypocrisy and political desperation ahead of the 2019 presidential election.

PDP said that President Buhari’s action merely sought to use the name and person of Abiola to gain a political capital and was not out of genuine reverence and recognition for him.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday and signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the party recalled that President Buhari, who was serving in the military administration of General Sani Abacha during the travails of Abiola, did not associate either by words or actions with the late winner of June 12 election.

Ologbondiyan further stated that history did not record President Buhari as sympathetic to the Abiola’s family when his wife, Kudirat, was gruesomely murdered by the agents of a government which President Buhari served.

He said, “It is, therefore, a sign of political desperation for President Buhari to seek to use Chief Abiola’s name as a tool to sway Nigerians in less than 12 months to an election where he (President Buhari) is seeking a second term.

“It is also shocking that the respectable grave of Abiola can be dishonoured by granting a posthumous award on him along with someone who denounced the June 12 mandate and preferred the company of his (Abiola’s) traducers.

“Even those who now masquerade as change agents were opposed to the naming of the University of Lagos after Chief Abiola.

“If President Buhari genuinely wants to honour Chief Abiola, he should do so by ending all anti-democratic proclivities of his administration and allow for the rule of law and respect for our constitution.”

“The PDP, therefore, urges President Buhari to shed his desperate actions in his quest to win the 2019 presidential election as Nigerians can no longer be deceived by such antics.”

Honour long overdue – Akelere

The late MKO’s former personal assistant, Lisa Olu Akerele, has described the honour done the late politician as “a welcome development long overdue.”

He stated, “Mr Kola Abiola, myself and other well-meaning individuals have been campaigning underground for years for this honour to be done.

“The good thing is that it has taken a former soldier like President Muhammadu Buhari to right the wrong done by a misguided soldier like Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.”

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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FG Declares June 12 Public Holiday for Democracy Day Celebration

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The Federal Government has declared Wednesday, June 12, a public holiday in commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day celebration.

The announcement was made in a statement signed by Aishetu Ndayako, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Interior, on behalf of Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior.

The statement urged Nigerians to reflect on the struggles and sacrifices of the nation’s founding fathers and to ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secure, peaceful, and indivisible entity.

“As we mark another Democracy Day in the history of our dear country, let us all reflect on the efforts of our founding fathers and ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secured, peaceful, and indivisible entity,” the statement read.

A Historic Shift

The designation of June 12 as Democracy Day dates back to June 7, 2018, when former President Muhammadu Buhari announced that the day would henceforth be celebrated as Democracy Day.

Prior to this declaration, Democracy Day was observed on May 29, the date marking the inauguration of the Fourth Republic in 1999.

President Buhari’s decision was rooted in the historical significance of June 12, 1993, the day of what is widely regarded as Nigeria’s freest and fairest presidential election.

Despite the election’s annulment by the then-military government, Buhari emphasized that the democratic credentials of the process should be honored.

Honoring a Legacy

To further commemorate the significance of June 12, Buhari posthumously awarded Chief Moshood Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled 1993 election, with the nation’s highest honor, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).

The statement from the Ministry of Interior also highlighted President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to implementing positive reforms aimed at reviving Nigeria’s economy and enhancing national security.

A Call for Unity

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, called on all citizens and friends of Nigeria to appreciate the progress that has been made in the country’s democratic journey and to look forward to a brighter future.

“As we celebrate Democracy Day, we must appreciate the progress that has been made and remain hopeful for a better future for Nigeria’s democracy,” the minister said.

This year’s Democracy Day comes at a crucial time as Nigeria continues to navigate economic challenges and security concerns. The public holiday on June 12 provides an opportunity for Nigerians to reflect on the importance of democracy and the ongoing efforts to strengthen the nation’s democratic institutions.

As the nation prepares to observe the public holiday, there is a sense of anticipation and hope that the values of democracy will continue to guide Nigeria towards a prosperous and harmonious future.

The government’s declaration serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of June 12 and the importance of upholding democratic principles.

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Guilty on All 34 Counts: Trump Convicted in Hush Money Case

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donald-trump

In a historic and unprecedented legal decision, former President Donald Trump was found guilty on all 34 counts in his “hush money” trial, making him the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a crime.

The verdict was delivered by a jury of 12 New Yorkers on Wednesday, concluding a six-week trial in Manhattan.

The charges against Trump centered around falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.

The jury found Trump guilty on all counts, concluding that he authorized a scheme to falsify checks and related documents to keep the alleged affair from becoming public knowledge.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office presented evidence showing that the conspiracy to cover up the payment began during Trump’s 2016 campaign and continued into his first year in the White House.

They argued that Trump, along with his associates, created false records to mislead voters and conceal the payment.

Trump, who has consistently denied having any sexual encounter with Daniels, responded angrily to the verdict. Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, he called the trial “a disgrace” and accused the judge of bias.

“This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt,” Trump stated.

He vowed to continue fighting the verdict, saying, “The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people, and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here. We’ll fight to the end.”

The conviction comes at a critical time for Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president in the 2024 election. Despite the conviction, there is no constitutional barrier preventing him from running for office again.

Legal experts note that the Constitution’s requirements for presidential candidates—being at least 35 years old, a natural-born citizen, and a U.S. resident for 14 years—do not include any disqualification for being a convicted felon.

Judge Juan Merchan has scheduled Trump’s sentencing for July 11. The defense has until June 13 to submit any motions, with the prosecution required to respond by June 27.

Trump’s legal team indicated they would prefer a sentencing date in mid to late July.

Trump’s conviction adds to the already intense political climate as the nation prepares for the 2024 elections. The trial has drawn significant media attention and public scrutiny, reflecting deep divisions within American society.

The trial highlighted broader issues regarding campaign finance and the use of hush money in politics. It also raises questions about the integrity of presidential candidates and the lengths to which they might go to protect their public image.

As the legal and political ramifications of this verdict unfold, Trump’s conviction on all 34 counts marks a significant chapter in U.S. history.

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President Tinubu to Inaugurate Newly Paved Roads to Apapa, Tin Can Ports

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Bola Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu is set to inaugurate the newly constructed paved roads leading to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos on Saturday.

This development is anticipated to bring significant relief to port users and operators who have endured years of hardship due to the previously dilapidated roads and severe traffic congestion in the area.

The commissioning of these roads marks a major milestone in the government’s efforts to improve infrastructure and boost economic activities around the nation’s busiest ports.

The newly paved roads are expected to enhance the flow of goods and services, reduce operational costs for businesses, and alleviate the chronic traffic bottlenecks that have plagued the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas.

President Tinubu, who is scheduled to arrive in Lagos on Saturday morning, will perform the inauguration as his first assignment of the day.

The ceremony signifies a commitment to addressing the infrastructural challenges that have long hindered the efficiency of Nigeria’s maritime sector.

Mohammed Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), highlighted the importance of this project earlier this year.

He emphasized the NPA’s “zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to the free flow of traffic” and reiterated the agency’s dedication to improving port operations.

“Our zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to free flow of traffic is no fluke,” Koko said, noting that the rehabilitation efforts are aimed at consolidating gains achieved first in Apapa and now extending to Tin Can.

In January 2024, President Tinubu directed the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently and comprehensively repair the access roads to the Lagos Port Complex and Tin-Can Island Port Complex.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, echoed the urgency of this directive, pointing out that the poor condition of the port access roads had significantly increased internal logistics costs for importers and exporters.

“The dilapidated port access roads increase the cost of internal logistics for importers and exporters,” Oyetola noted.

The improved road infrastructure is expected to curb the exodus of businesses from the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas, which had been driven away by the severe logistical challenges.

The restoration of these critical routes is also anticipated to enhance Nigeria’s competitiveness in international trade by facilitating smoother and more efficient port operations.

Following the inauguration of the port access roads, President Tinubu is also scheduled to flag off the Lagos to Calabar coastal road project at Victoria Island in Lagos.

Also, he will virtually inaugurate the newly rehabilitated 3rd Mainland Bridge, further underscoring his administration’s commitment to revitalizing Nigeria’s infrastructure.

The series of inaugurations and project launches underscore a broader strategy to enhance connectivity, reduce operational bottlenecks, and stimulate economic growth through improved infrastructure.

The completion of the Apapa and Tin Can Island port roads is a pivotal step in this direction, promising a new era of efficiency and productivity for Nigeria’s maritime sector.

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