The governments of Ogun and Osun states have declared Monday, June 12, as work-free days in honour of late M.K.O. Abiola, acclaimed winner of the June 12 ’93 presidential election.
Governors Ibikunle Amosun and Rauf Aregbesola made this known in separate press statements on Friday.
Taiwo Adeoluwa, spokesperson of the Ogun State governor, stated that “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.”
Adelani Baderinwa, Osun state commissioner of information and strategy, noted in his statement that “the public holiday is to commemorate the June 12, 1993 presidential election believed to have been won by the late business mogul, late Bashorun MKO Abiola, but was annulled by the General Ibrahim Babangida junta”.
Both Governors Amosun and Aregbesola have consistently declared June 12 of every year as public holiday since assuming power in 2011.
Some Nigerians have argued that Nigeria’s democracy day should be celebrated on June 12 rather than May 29 as is presently the case. It is believed that the events leading up to the election, and even after, laid a strong foundation for the democracy that the country now enjoys.
Oyo and and Ondo are two more states where Monday has been declared public holiday.
“We must wake up to this reality, whether we like it or we don’t like it. Democracy day which we are celebrating comes up to being on May 29 and we can’t run away from it,” Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo state, had said back on May 29.
“It is not to say we will not celebrate June 12. Here in Ondo state we will celebrate June 12 and it will be a work-free day.
“MKO deserves a special honour, not only to him but also to his wife. Their blood was spilled for the realisation of our democracy. He was the president but not allowed to assume office”