Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi west, has faulted the conferment of a posthumous award on Moshood Abiola, presumed winner of the June 12 1993 election, saying a dead man is not a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
On Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari conferred on the late Abiola, the award of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) and also declared June 12 as the new Democracy Day.
But speaking on the floor of the senate on Thursday, Melaye argued that according the national honours act, such award can only be conferred on an individual when the president receives the recipient in person.
“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 sole decorated. But Mr. President, we are governed in the country by the constitution and extant laws,” the lawmaker said, citing 43(2) of the national honours act
“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.
“The law remains the law. 3(2) subject to the next notice, ‘A person shall be appointed to a particular rank of an order when the president receives him in person.”
Melaye said for the award to be in accordance with the law, the act has to be amended.
“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,” he said.