The Lagos State government like other states in South West Nigeria has declared Monday public holiday to mark June 12 celebration in the state, saying that the state remains committed to the ideals of the annulled 1993 Presidential election.
Other states in the South West are Oyo, Ogun State Governments have declared Monday, June 12, 2017 as work-free day in the state.
Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Tunji Bello, on behalf of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, in a statemenmt on Sunday, said the holiday was in honour of the ideals which June 12, 1993, presidential election represents; being a day that the country experienced an election that was adjudged as the freest and fairest in Nigeria’s history.
The governor said 24 years after, the ideals of June 12 commemoration were worth celebrating, describing the day as one of the most defining moments of the country’s political history which has positively shaped its democratic rule.
Governor Ambode said the time has come for Nigerians to go beyond the commemoration and entrench a viable democracy as a way to immortalise the late presumed winner of the election, M.K.O Abiola, through the practice of true federalism and conduct of credible and fair elections.
“June 12, 1993 is a day we must not forget in the annals of our democratic history,” said Mr. Ambode.
“Our present democratic experience may still be far from the ideal but we must all make concerted efforts to entrench fiscal federalism which is the only way to achieve true nationhood.”
According to Ambode, the enduring lessons of June 12 election is that it imbued the patriotic and nationalistic zeal in all Nigerians to speak with one voice to make a political choice devoid of ethnic, racial or social sentiments.
“On June 12, 1993, majority of Nigerians across all divides demonstrated through the ballot box that irrespective of class or ethnic sympathies, the Nigerian people are united and would always join hands to promote our unifying values,” he said.
Governor Ambode said though the peoples’ hope was dashed with the annulment of the election by the military junta, the lessons of the election cannot be wished away despite subterranean efforts by many to do, describing June 12 as the real Democracy Day in Nigeria.
“We owe it a duty to genuinely immortalize the fallen heroes of the June 12 struggle nationally and deepen our democratic values to ensure that never again will such anti-people action be allowed to take place”.
He also assured that his administration remains committed to the ideals of June 12 by carrying out people-oriented programmes across the State and making life more comfortable for the people.
Similarly, the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has declared Monday, June 12, 2017 as work-free day.
A statement issued on Friday in Abeokuta, signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa, said the annual holiday is in honour of the late illustrious son of the state, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, widely believed to have won the annulled June 12, 1993 Presidential election, which marked a unique watershed in Nigeria’s democracy.
The statement reads in part, “This year’s celebration will feature the annual ‘Democracy Walk’, which will be led by the governor, starting from the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta at 7am.
“The walk 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 will be made.
“Later in the day, 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 6:00pm.”