Kogi lawmaker, Dino Melaye says Chief MKO Abiola cannot be awarded the honour of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) without an amendment to the National Honours Act.
Melaye stated this while reacting to President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to declare June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day in recognition of Abiola’s contribution to the country.
Citing some provisions of the National Honours Act, the Kogi lawmaker argued that the honour was not in accordance with the law.
He however praised the late politician for his contributions to Nigeria’s democracy.
“I am a democrat, I believe very sincerely that Chief M.K.O Abiola deserves even more than the President has pronounced because he is a true patriot, philanthropist and should be so decorated,” he said.
“We are governed in the country by the constitution and extant laws. 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.
"Section 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.
“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 added.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, however, advised that Nigerians should focus on the positive side of President Buhari's gesture "rather than focus on the negative issues".
Announce June 12 election result
Meanwhile, the Senate has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to announce the result of the June 12, 1993 presidential election which Abiola was presumed to have won.
The decision of the Senate was sequel to a motion by Ekiti lawmaker, Senator Biodun Olujimi.