Senator Dino Melaye has reversed his position on the GCFR title to be conferred posthumously on MKO Abiola by President Buhari tomorrow June 12th.
On the floor of the senate last Thursday, Melaye argued that President Buhari cannot confer such a honor on Abiola since he is dead. According to Melaye, a dead Nigerian is no longer a Nigerian.
“No matter how beautiful a situation is, the law of the land remains the law of the land. Section (2) 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,” Dino had siad during plenary on Thursday.
However in a statement he released on social media, Melaye says his stance on the conferrment was misconstrued and that the politician deserves the award. Read his statement below
For the last couple of days, I have been inundated with calls and text messages from well-meaning Nigerians, especially my constituents, who want to inquire on my exact position on the declaration of June 12 as the new Democracy Day and the conferment of the highest National Honours of GCFR on the late Chief MKO Abiola, *the winner* of June 12, 1993 presidential election.
For the avoidance of doubt, my views and belief on the sanctity of June 12 and the place of the late Chief MKO Abiola in Nigeria’s democratic history, have not changed and will not. Hence, in my view the decision by the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari to honour the late business mogul is deserving and long overdue save for attendant legal issues raised.
It is a verifiable fact that I have canvassed for this recognition for Chief Abiola over the years, and granted an interview to Channels Television two years ago, where I advocated for same.
Let me also make it abundantly clear that while both Chief Abiola and the late legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN) deserved more than the GCFR and GCON Honours respectively to be bestowed on them posthumously next Tuesday, it is however important that the right thing is being done in their memory and therefore should not have any blemish in the guise of the current debate for legality or otherwise of the historic Honours as we are witnessing now.
I urge the Federal Government to do the needful and display sincerity of purpose by officially recognising Chief Abiola as President-elect and cause the official results of the June 12, 1993 presidential election to be released by INEC since President Buhari himself had admitted in the Presidential Order designating June 12 as Democracy Day, the freest and most credible election. By so doing, the GCFR title will therefore have a meaning.
If the right thing is done now by the Federal Government by proposing amendments to the National Honours Act 1964 to accommodate the current developments, no government in future will reverse the decision. This is my stand as a lawmaker.