‘May 29 Remains Inauguration Day For Presidents’ – Senate
On Thursday, the Senate while largely supporting the president’s announcement, however, insisted May 29 will continue to be the hand-over date for presidents of Nigeria.
The lawmakers after a lengthy deliberation on the president’s announcement agreed that an alteration of the handover date will require a constitutional amendment.
Since 1999 when the country returned to civil rule, Nigeria has celebrated May 29 as Democracy Day. The date, after every four years, also doubles as the day for the inauguration of newly elected presidents and many state governors.
First to raise the issue on Thursday was Lanre Tejuosho (Ogun-APC) who commended Mr Buhari for the announcements while urging him to also reconcile with the Legislature.
Having come under order 43 of the Senate standing order, the matter was not open for discussion.
“For once, I want to thank the President of Nigeria. I want to say he has done well. This is one time that the President has given a thought to what (Moshood) Abiola and his family went through to fight for this democracy that we enjoy today.
“Going further, there are issues to be addressed so that we can be confident that this is not a Greek gift.”
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said the gesture comes with legal issues which the president must address.
“They are now saying June 12 is now Democracy Day, proposing that in 2019, the president will now be sworn in on the 12th of June. This is illegally impossible.
“A president shall vacate his office at the expiration of a period of four years he took the oath of office.
“The implication is that 29th of May remains the date the president will be inaugurated and take oath of office. If they are moving from May 29 to June 12, it means we have to amend this constitution.
“Otherwise, we will be extending tenure of a president beyond what the constitution contemplates. We have to advise the president properly so that we won’t enter a jam next year. We cannot extend it to June 12 without extending the Constitution.”