The president had on June 6, proclaimed June 12 as the new Democracy Day, replacing the hitherto May 29 Democracy in acknowledgement of June 12, 1993 presidential election described as the freest and fairest in Nigeria’s history and won by the late business magnate, Chief MKO Abiola, but unjustly annulled by former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida.
The president was also criticised for unilaterally conferring the national honours on the recipients without consulting the National Council of State.
But Malami in his defence, said the president was only duty bound to consult the Governing Board in relation to the conferment of the National Merit Award, insisting that there is no law compelling the president to make any consultation before conferring national honours on anyone.
Malami also stated that it was not the first time that a posthumous national honours award was conferred on anyone, pointing out that former Head of State, Gen. Murtala Muhammed, had once been posthumously honoured.
“National Merit Award Act and the Nigerian National Honours Act are two distinct and different applicable laws as far as National honours awards are concerned. You have the National Merit Award on the strength of which we have the law of the governing board come into effect and then as it relates to the National Honours Act, the board does not have any relevance in terms of processing of the honours.
“As it relates to public holidays, there is truly a Public Holidays Act, but it is about the process of amendment. At any rate, the Act can be amended and the process of amendment has been put in place.
“So, when the Act has been fully amended, the declaration of the President will come into effect.