The house of representatives was thrown into a rowdy session on Thursday when one of the lawmakers kicked against the honour given to MKO Abiola, presumed winner of the 1993 presidential election, by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Abiola emerged winner of the election which took place on June 12 that year but the military government of Ibrahim Babangida annulled the exercise before the result was announced officially.
On Wednesday, Buhari conferred the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on the late icon as a sign of honour, and also declared June 12 new date for celebration of Democracy Day.
However, speaking during plenary on Thursday, Nicholas Ossai from Delta state said Buhari’s decision to announce the new public holiday on Wednesday rather than on May 29 was “with bad intent.”
He also said only the national assembly is empowered to set new dates for public holidays.
“Public holiday is derived from the national assembly act and not from executive declaration,” the lawmaker said.
“This honour is to be given to the president or former presidents who are still alive. Two weeks ago, we celebrated our great feat as a nation our Democracy Day. The executive never thought it wise to declare it on that day. What is the difference between now and one week ago, it is an act of discrimination?
“What happens to the public funds used in celebrating Democracy Day weeks ago? They must be accounted for. Why didn’t the president announce it on that day?”
At this point, he was shut down with shouts of “sit down” from some of the lawmakers, leading to a rowdy session.
Some of the other lawmakers who also spoke on the issue said there is need to abide by the rule of law while others spoke in favour of the president’s decision.
This has led to a noisy session which has continued for more than twenty minutes.