Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia-PDP), has asked President
Muhammadu Buhari to declare December 31 as Democracy Destruction
Day to mark the coup he led to end Nigeria’s Second Republic in 1983.
He made this known to the dissent of All Progressives Congress
senators on Thursday. It would be recalled that back then a Major-
General, Mr Buhari on December 31, 1983 led by a group of senior
army officers to overthrow the democratically elected government of
President Shehu Shagari. He was appointed Head of State by the
Now a democratically elected president, Mr Buhari on June 6 directed
that effective 2019, Nigeria’s Democracy Day, marked every May 29
for the past 18 years, be shifted to June 12 to honour Moshood Abiola,
the winner of the 1993 presidential election. Mr Abiola was never
sworn in as president. He was instead detained by the military and
died in prison five years later.
Mr Abaribe said December 31, 1983 is significant enough to mark the
day democracy was destroyed in Nigeria. He urged the president to
declare the date just as he did June 12. First, he joined his colleagues
in commending Mr Buhari on the move.
“I support what Senator Olujimi and also what the Deputy Senate
President had said, insisting that there may have to be an amendment
of the constitution.
“I also want to add that it would also be necessary for the Executive to
quickly bring to the National Assembly, an amendment to the Honours
Act which states that there cannot be posthumous award. Now that
they have jumped the gun to do posthumous award, it would be
necessary for us to quickly amend that act.
“Finally, I want to also propose another day since we are now moving
in the right direction, saying that democracy is needed, I want to
propose that we also designate 31st December as Democracy
Destruction Day because that was the day that this same president did
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe
Mr Abaribe was cut short by his colleague, Barau Jibrin (Kano-APC),
who raised a point of order to call the attention of the Senate to a
derailment from issue being discussed.