For a long time, June 12 has been remembered for the heroic acts of Chief MKO Abiola, but was never officially recognised as a public holiday or a national commemoration, until President Muhammadu Buhari declared the date, as Nigeria’s new official Democracy Day last year. But here’s what this means for the country and its citizens:
— What this means now, is that there is a public holiday on May 29 and another one on June 12.
— Our transition into a new government will continue to hold on May 29, as was the case, but the actual celebration of Democracy Day, will now be on the 12th of June.
— Those beautiful parades and festivities that used to hold in various locations of the country on May 29, will now be reserved for June 12.
— Public Holidays mean free roads in Lagos, so use this one wisely. Make all those trips you have been postponing and take that rest you so very much need.
— Businesses can thrive on both days. While there is a public holiday on both dates, entrepreneurs can use the opportunity to make quicker deliveries, open their markets to shoppers and yet, enjoy their holiday at the same time.
Here’s the back story
The declaration of June 12 as the official Democracy Day was to honour MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the acclaimed June 12, 1993 election, who was also awarded a posthumous title of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).
Subsequently, the National Assembly passed a bill to amend the Holiday Act to provide for June 12 as Democracy Day.
This means that while new presidents would be sworn in on May 29, June 12 would be the official day for celebrating Nigeria’s democracy status.
Addressing a world press conference on Monday, May 20, 2019, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohamed, said most of the activities formerly performed on May 29 as Democracy Day have been moved to June 12.
The Minister said that the swearing-in of the President and the Vice President would hold on May 29, 2019, at the Eagle Square and would be followed by a State Banquet at the Presidential Villa.
He maintained that events slated for May 29, would be low key adding that world leaders will only attend the June 12.
— Mohammed said that the event marking the June 12 Democracy Day celebration would kick off on June 7 with a Historical Exhibition in Arts, Pictures and Immersive Environment, and would run through the 12th.
— According to him, the historical exhibition will be followed on June 9 by a Youth Concert, Creative Industry and Entertainment Night at the International Conference Centre.
By Oluwatoyin Adeleye