Friday, June 9, 2017 4:11 pm
The governments of Osun and Oyo states have declared Monday a public holiday to mark June 12 celebration.
First, a statement on Friday, by the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Office of the Osun Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, announced the holiday.
The statement 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.”
Okanlawon stated 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.
It was the day the June 12, 1993 presidential election, adjudged to be the freest and fairest in the history of Nigeria took place.
Late Bashorun Moshood Abiola won the election. However, victory was annulled by the then military head of state, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.
Also, in a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Olalekan Alli, said that Governor Abiola Ajimobi approved Monday as work-free day to commemorate the annulment of the anniversary of the June 12, 1993 elections, which was generally believed to have been won by late Chief MKO Abiola.
The government said the anniversary was also in recognition and honour of the martyrdom of Chief Abiola, who laid down his life for Nigerians to enjoy the democratic dividends of today.
In addition, 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.
The annual holiday is in honour of the late illustrious son of the state, Chief Moshood Kasimawo Olawale Abiola, widely believed to have won the annulled June 12, 1993 Presidential election, which marked a unique watershed in Nigeria’s democratic development.
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 7 in the morning.
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.
All government functionaries, activists, civil society organisations, democracy volunteers, civil servants, labour/trade unions, students, market women/men and other stakeholders, are enjoined to participate in the events, designed to draw awareness to the continued relevance of June 12.