Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Former minister of Petroleum and Energy, Prof. Tam David-West, has canvassed a return to October 1, of every election year, as national handing-over and taking-over day in Nigeria, instead of every May 29.
The professor of Virology told Daily Sun, yesterday evening, that there is so much confusion with May 29 and June 12, as people now reckon with the two dates as democracy days.
David-West said: “October 1 is very significant and important in the history of Nigeria. As a country, we got our independence on October 1, 1960. This is very important to us as Nigerians. So, I suggest that October 1 should not be celebrated as our Independence Day alone, it should be turned to our handing-over and taking-over day.”
He recalled how the military government headed by General Olusegun Obasanjo handed over to the civilian administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, on October 1, 1979, and added that the same thing was done on October 1, 1983, when Shagari was sworn-in, for a second term.
David-West said the “confusion about national days are unnecessary. I commend President Muhammadu Buhari for making June 12 Democracy Day in Nigeria. June 12 is relevant because it’s a day that should always be remembered as one we had thr freest election in this country. This fact has been acknowledged by the international community.
“But, we don’t need May 29 because it is unnecessary. It should not even be mentioned at all in our history. Yes, May 29, 1999 was a day the civilian administration took over the reins of government from the military government. May 29 should be removed from our national holidays.
“But, October 1 is more important because it is constant. June 12 is a political day and, if any politician comes in the future and does something very significant, are we going to create another day for him? May 29 was chosen only to massage Obasanjo’s ego. It has no relevance.”