Published On: Thu, Jun 7th, 2018

June 12: Ekweremadu Hails Move, But Says May 29 Remains Presidential Inauguration Date Unless…


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June 12: Ekweremadu Hails Move, But Says May 29 Remains Presidential Inauguration Date Unless…

June 12: Ekweremadu Hails Move, But Says May 29 Remains Presidential Inauguration Date Unless…


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The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has hailed the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day as a good development for the country, saying all injustices across the country should be addressed.
He, however, cautioned that the shift from May 29 to June 12 as Democracy Day should not be mistaken as a shift in the date for the inauguration of the President unless necessary amendments were effected in the Constitution.  
Ekweremadu made the observations at the Senate plenary on Thursday whiel contributing to a debate on motion brought by Senator Abiodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti) calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to declare the results of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
“This is a good day for Nigeria. I think that we must commend the President that finally, we are beginning to address injustices in this country. Our prayer is that this must be sustained.
“We must address the injustices all over the country. For those complaining about environmental degradation, marginalisation, the killings or any kind of injustice, this is time for us to address it because any country that sustains injustice is heading for major crisis, so, we must address all the injustices in this country.
“Let me also say that I support the proposal by Senator Olujimi that the results of the June 12 election need to be declared because it is mere perception that MKO Abiola won the election. INEC has to announce the figures and let it be on record that Abiola was President and Kingibe was Vice President. It is good for us to have that record.
“However, there are two legal issues involved. The provisions of Section 135(2)(b) of our Constitution on the tenure of the president, because they are now saying that June 12 is now the Democracy Day deposing that, that means that in 2019, the President will be sworn-in on the 12th of June. This is legally impossible because the law says that subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a person shall hold the office of the President until (a) when his successor in office takes the oath of that office; (b) he dies whilst holding that office; (c) the date when his resignation from office takes effect; or (d) he otherwise ceases to hold office in accordance with the provisions of this constitution.
“Section 135 (2) says: ‘Subject to the provisions of subsection (1) of this Section, the President shall vacate his office at the expiration of a period of four years commencing from the date, when (a) in the case of a person first elected as President under this Constitution, he took Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Office; and (b) in any other case, the person last elected to that under this Constitution took the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office or would, but for his death, have taken such oaths’.
“The implication, therefore, is that, the 29th of May remains the day the President will be inaugurated and he will take his Oath of Office. If we are moving from 29th May to 12th of June, it means that we will have to amend this Constitution. Otherwise, we would be extending the tenure of a President beyond what the Constitution contemplates.
“So, we have to advice the President properly so that we don’t get into a constitutional lock jam when we get to next year. It is important that this point be put in true perspective that the issue of the tenure of office of the President is from the 29th of May 2015 to 29th May 2019. We cannot extend it to 12thof June without amending the Constitution,” he said.
The Senate subsequently resolved that the results of the June 12, 1993 presidential election be announced and that all entitlements due to Chief Abiola and Kingibe as President and Vice President be accorded them.
The Senate also resolved that June 12 be declared a public holiday and that May 29 should remain the date of inauguration of the elected executive officers.

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