The governments of the six South-west states have declared Tuesday, June 12 as a public holiday to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the annulled 1993 Presidential election adjudged to have been won by the late Aare Onakakanfo of oruba land, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola. The states are Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, and Oyo.
In Lagos State, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said that the recent decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to declare June 12 as the new democracy day would ensure that late Abiola and other martyrs of democracy who laid down their lives in the struggle to entrench good governance did not do so in vain.
“No matter how long you try to hide history, history will always reveal itself with a true platform.”
In a statement signed by Tunji Bello, the secretary to the state government, Ambode said: “so, we know that is one very important singular step as we go forward to build an enduring democracy. And for all democrats in this country, we are excited that we are moving in the right direction.
“It also affirms that Nigeria can get it right if we begin to put things in the right perspective and work for the general good of the greater number of people. That is the true essence of democracy.
“For us in Lagos, June 12 is not just a day to remember, it is a rallying point for those of us in service that we must continuously strive to entrench true democracy and good governance which is what Chief MKO Abiola totally exemplified.”
Also, the Ogun State government announced June 12 as a work-free day to enable the residents mark the Democracy Day and celebrate the recent conferment of a posthumous national honour on late Abiola.
This is even as Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State said that the day would be celebrated with a town hall assembly at the International Culture and Events Centre (The Dome) in Akure.
“All civil servants, market women, artisans, politicians, clergymen, students and Ondo State residents from all walks of life are invited to be part of the historic gathering in honour of M.K.O Abiola, winner of the June 12 1993 Presidential Election,” the governor said in a statement signed by Yemi Olowolabi.
“It promises to be a riveting event with extensive focus on June 12: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”
The town hall assembly, the statement said, would be anchored by Kayode Fayemi, a former Minister of Mines and Steel Development and former Governor of Ekiti State.
Other members of the panel of discussants at the special Assembly include Dare Babarinsa, founding Executive Editor of TELL Magazine; Odia Ofeimun, renowned Poet; and Ifeanyi Odili, National Secretary of Campaign for Democracy amongst other pro democracy activists.
The Osun State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Obawale Adebisi said in a statement today, Saturday that the public holiday is in line with a policy of the state to observe June 12 as democracy day every year.
“Aregbesola’s stance on June 12 as democracy day had been justified by President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration of the day as Nigeria’s democracy day instead of May 29,” Mr Adebisi said.
“We also commend the President for honouring Chief MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election with a posthumous award of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).
“The state government of Osun commends the President on this righteous step of honouring June 12 and key players of the 1993 presidential election, 25 years after.
“The Government of the State of Osun has, therefore, declared Tuesday, June 12 a public holiday.”
In Ekiti, Governor Ayo Fayose announced via his official Twitter handle that the state would continue in its tradition of honouring late Abiola with a public holiday.
Fayose said that MKO Abiola is worthy to be honoured “and we in Ekiti honoured him with a public holiday on June 12, 2017. We will do it again this year. However, the greatest honour anyone can bestow on MKO Abiola is total respect for the rule of law and conduct of free,fair & credible elections.”
In Oyo State, the media assistant to Governor Abiola Ajimobi, Bolaji Tunji, said that the state would also declare June 12 a public holiday.