By Anthony Ogbonna
The Nigerian Senate has passed the Presidential Inauguration Bill which seeks to return the activities of Presidential Inauguration to the legislative House.
The bill would see to it that, if assented to by the president, then all presidential inauguration ceremonies would henceforth be conducted at the Legislative House and no longer at the Eagles Square as is currently the practice in the country.
The bill by the Senate is in line with advanced democracies, particularly those that practice the Presidential System of Government such as the United States of America, who conduct their presidential inauguration ceremonies at their Legislative Houses.
In a statement made available to newsmen by Bamikole Omisore, the media aide to the President of the 8th Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, it said conducting the ceremonies at the legislative house “is very symbolic and important because the National legislative assemblies are the bastions of democracy and places of the people.”
It said the current practice of conducting presidential ceremonies at the Eagle Square in Nigeria is an introduction of the military, maintaining that such ceremonies at parade grounds like at the Eagles square have military symbolism far from democratic representation.
The bill which was sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, is part of the restructuring efforts of the 8th Senate to have a Nigeria fully rooted in democratic practice and norms.
The statement reads thus:
“In Nigeria’s case, presidential inaugurations thus far have taken place at the Eagle Square which is a parade ground. This is a practice that was instituted by the Military. A parade ground has military symbolism but no meaningful democratic symbolism hence the need to return the Presidential Inauguration Ceremonies to the rightful place, the National Assembly where every Nigerian has a representative.
“If you have been to the NASS complex, you must have noticed a large square in front of the main chambers building or the building commonly referred to as the ‘White House’ within the Assembly.
“It is similar to the West front of the United States Capitol, the home of the United States Congress where Presidents take their oath of office.
“That Square is the people’s square. At the top of the Square is a Podium. One of the functions of that Podium is for presidential inauguration ceremonies such as the Swearing-in of the President of Nigeria but that square has never been used for that purpose, despite its important symbolism.
“Consequently, the Senate, in order to address this anomaly, passed the Presidential Inauguration Bill that returns the activities of Presidential Inauguration to the NASS..
“Every lover of modern democracy looks forward to the Bill being assented to by Mr. President in the spirit of its symbolism.”