- June 12 has been declared a public holiday in the six southwest states of Nigeria
- The six states also line activities, annually to mark the anniversary
- It is a public holiday to honour the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Moshood Abiola
Prior to the official recongition, and declaration, of June 12 as the new Democracy Day by President Muhammadu Buhari, six states in the southwest have already been marking the day to honour Moshood Abiola, the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election.
Below is a list of the Southwest states that celebrate June 12, prior to President Buhari's declaration:
Ondo state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said Abiola’s supreme sacrifice culminated in the hurried departure of the military from the political scene in 1999.
In 2017, the Ondo state government organised a lecture, as part of programmes outlined to celebrate the day, with the theme: “June 12: A celebration of courage and resilience.”
It was held at the International Events and Culture Centre (The Dome) in Akure, Ondo.
In a statement released by the governor prior the day, Akeredolu said:“Eminent Nigerians, including notable activists are lined up to grace the event. Hon. Wale Oshun is chairman of the occassion, while human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, will be the guest speaker.
“Akeredolu asked politicians across the country to always demonstrate their unquenchable love for the country.”
Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose, in a statement on Sunday, June 11, 2017, in Ado Ekiti, said Ekiti state joined in the Southwest decision, in the spirit of the unity of the region.
Fayose said: “Yoruba nation’s interest is beyond personal interest of anyone. For us to forge ahead as a people, we must speak with one voice.
“In the light of this, I declare Monday a public holiday to further strengthen our collective belief, hope and aspirations.
“This, I have done in the spirit of Yoruba nation and Southwest integration.”
Through the secretary to state government, Adeoluwa Taiwo, Ogun state governor, Ibikunle Amosun said it was in line with the practice in the past years to identify with and keep the ideals of June 12.
He said: “Consistent with the practice of the past six years, and, as a way of identifying with and keeping the ideals of June 12 alive, the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has declared Monday, June 12, 2017 as work free."
The 2017 celebration in Ogun state featured the annual “Democracy Walk” and was led by the governor, starting from the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta at 7 am.
The walk took participants through major roads in the state capital to the Abiola family homestead, at Oke-Ido, Gbagura, Abeokuta North Local Government Area, where special prayers and speeches were made.
Also, an inspirational stage play, “Oju Kelekun” (farewell to reproach), directed by Prof. Bakare Ojo Rasaki, was performed at the June 12 Cultural Centre, between 3:45 and 6 pm.
Osun state government said that the public holiday became imperative in view of the fact that June 12 marked a watershed in the history of democratic evolution in the country.
“In line with its established policy of observing June 12 of every year as Democracy Day, the State Government of Osun has declared Monday, June 12, as public holiday," the government stated On Sunday, June 11, 2017.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos, in a statement issued by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Tunji Bello, said the state remained committed to the ideals of the annulled 1993 Presidential election.
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Legit.ng previously reported that a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ebenezer Babatope, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for declaring June 12 as a new Democracy Day and posthumously awarding Chief MKO Abiola, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).
The president who announced this on Wednesday, June 6, in a statement signed personally, said that June 12 would now replace May 29 as the Democracy Day.
Abiola, who was the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, died on July 7, 1998.
Babatope, a former minister of transport and member PDP Board of Trustees, said that the president’s motivation was right.
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