Alfa Belgore, a former chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), has described as illegal, the conferment of Nigeria’s highest national honour on MKO Abiola, presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 election.
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the retired judge said the national honours cannot be awarded posthumously, “much less the GCFR”, which is the highest honour in the land.
President Muhammadu Buhari conferred the honour on Abiola on Wednesday, announcing that Baba Gana Kingibe, Abiola’s running mate in the election, and Gani Fawehinmi, the late human rights lawyer, would be invested with a GCON respectively.
He said the commemoration and investiture would take place on June 12, 2018.
But PREMIUM TIMES quoted Belgore as saying: “It is not done… it is for people living.”
“The only thing they could do is to name a place after him, but national honours award, no.”
Belgore, chairman of the 2016 national honours committee, was also quoted to have said he was not consulted by the Buhari administration before the decision was taken.
He said under the 1963 National Honours Act, only soldiers or other servicemen could be awarded posthumous medals for their bravery.
Belgore was chief judge between 2006 and 2007.
Buhari’s action has been received with mixed feelings. While some commended him over it, others believe it has a political undertone.