6 Southwest States Announce June 12 as Public Holiday

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By Kenneth Kabiri

June 12 has been declared a public holiday in some Southwest states of Nigeria. The Six states have also lined activities to mark the anniversary.

It is a public holiday to honour the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Moshood Abiola.

Six states in the south west have declared Monday, June 12, a public holiday to honour Moshood Abiola, the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election. While many have clamored for it to be a general public holiday, only the following states are commemorating it:

  1. Ekiti 2. Ondo 3. Ogun 4. Osun 5. Oyo 6. Lagos states have announced it and also lined up activities to mark the anniversary.

Ondo state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said Abiola’s supreme sacrifice culminated in the hurried departure of the military from the political scene in 1999.

Akeredolu releases a statement via his Chief Press Secretary, Segun Ajiboye, and said the government is organising a lecture, as part of programmes lined up for the day, with the theme:

“June 12: A celebration of courage and resilience.”It will hold at the International Events and Culture Centre (The Dome) in Akure, Ondo.

“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,” the statement said.

Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose, in a statement on Sunday, June 11, in Ado Ekiti, said Ekiti state joined in the South West 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 South West 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."

This year’s celebration would feature the annual “Democracy Walk”, which would be led by the governor, starting from the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta at 7 a.m. The walk, he said, is expected to take 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 would be made.

Also Mr Taiwo said an inspirational stage play, “Oju Kelekun” (farewell to reproach), directed by Prof. Bakare Ojo Rasaki, will be performed at the June 12 ‎Cultural Centre, between 3:45 and 6:00 p.m.

Osun state government through Semiu Okanlawon, 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. He said: “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."

 According to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos, in a statement issued by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tunji Bello, said the state remains committed to the ideals of the annulled 1993 Presidential election.

Meanwhile, Former Vice President and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar has urged the federal government to immortalise the acclaimed winner of the June 12 Presidential Election, Chief MKO Abiola, saying the events of that day cannot just be wished away.  "June 12 and the events that brought it are part of our country’s history and cannot be forgotten, especially because of the unity and comradeship displayed by Nigerians on that Election Day in 1993”, Abubakar said.

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