Much as a large section of the country celebrates pronouncement of June 12, as
democracy day and conferment of national honours on late chief MKO Abiola,
and two others, the law says it is for the living only.
Ex-President of the Nigerian Bar Association NBA chief OCJ Okocha, made the
observation yesterday in Port Harcourt, in an exclusive interview with journalists.
According to the legal luminary, "the law does not specifically state, it can
be conferred posthumously. The National Honours Act states anybody who is a
citizen of Nigeria. The operative word there is 'is'.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria also referred to the observation of former Chief
Justice of Nigeria CJN Justice Alfa Belgore, who stated same
"Also the Nobel Peace prize on literature, chemistry, or physics is not awarded
posthumously. For me it makes sense, as the awardee is living, walks up to the
stage, takes it and paraded with it.
He noted he would not take anything away from President Muhammadu Buhari's
statement hoping that the National Council State, NCS, which has the right and
title to approve conferment and awards, would approve the awards
"It is my hope that this conferment of national honours, of GCFR on late chief
MKO Abiola, GCON on late chief Gani and much loved Ambassador Baba Gana
Kingibe respectively, will receive the blessing of the National Council of States,
because they did not make those laws for fun.
Chief Okocha advised that much as the nation hails the actions of the President,
they should be backed up by legal processes to make them real, so that all will
take the President's declaration seriously.
The 2000-2003 NBA National President hoped that NCS should step
up amendment in law, so that it is put beyond question that those honours can be