The governments of some states in the South West of Nigeria have have declared 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 M.K.O Abiola.
The states that have made announcement of public holiday include: Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Oyo and Osun states.
The federal government on Wednesday announced that June 12 would become a national holiday for the celebration of democracy day starting from 2019.
In Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, the governor, said the recent decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to declare June 12 as the new democracy day would ensure that Mr 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,” Mr Ambode said in a statement signed by Tunji Bello, the secretary to the state government.
“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.”
In Ogun, the state government announced that June 12 would be a work-free day to enable the residents mark the Democracy Day and celebrate the recent conferment of a posthumous national honour on Mr Abiola.
In Ondo State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said 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.”
In Oyo state, the State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, said the declaration by government was to commemorate the 25th anniversary of June 12 1993 election generally and widely believed to have been won by late business mogul, MKO Abiola.
The Oyo government expressed satisfaction that 25 years after the election adjudged to be the freest and fairest in the history of Nigeria, the winner of the election, the late Abiola, was recognized by the Federal Government.
The Oyo government also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the posthumous award of the highest honour of the land, the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Abiola.
It lauded the decision to make June 12 as the Democracy Day in recognition and honour of the martyrdom of Abiola and others who fought for the actualization of democracy in Nigeria.
The state government described the late politician and business mogul as a symbol of democracy.
“We commend and appreciate the late Abiola’s strong conviction that the ordinary Nigerian must be freed from the shackles of oppression, poverty, penury and want,”it said.
It explained that the ideal of the good governance which the late Abiola stood for had always motivated the All Progressives Congress (APC) governments at Oyo State and the federal level”
In Osun, the government said the public holiday is to mark democracy day in the state.
Obawale Adebisi, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, said in a statement on Saturday that the public holiday was 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.”