Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra has described late Moshood Abiola as a nation in the mould of foremost Nigerian nationalist, late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.
Obiano said the recognition of June 12, the date Abiola won a national election across the ethnic, regional and religious divide by the federal government, was most deserving.
The governor said this in a statement signed by Mr C-Don Adinuba, Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment
in Awka on Friday.
According to him, Anambra identifies wholly with the June 12 as a national holiday.
“The government and people of Anambra rejoice with all Nigerians on the second anniversary of June 12 as Democracy Day.
”Chief Moshood Abiola, the winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential vote, is richly deserving of the honour of having a national holiday in his memory.
“Chief Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) defeated his sole rival; Alhaji Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention (NRC), in the latter’s home state of Kano in spite of running with a fellow Muslim, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe.
“What is more, Chief Abiola was all his life a proud Zikist, that is, a disciple of the Great Zik of Africa.
He followed Dr Nnamdi Azkiwe to become not just a pan Nigerian but also a Pan Africanist.
“In other words, he was never a prisoner of parochialism or primordial considerations, though a proud Yoruba Muslim, Abiola gave generously to all faiths and employed Nigerians without regard to their ethnicity or religion.
“He was a Zikist through and through, he stated.
Anambra government commended President Muhammadu Buhari for not just declaring June 12 as a national holiday in memory of Abiola, but also naming the National Stadium in Abuja after him.
Obiano used the commemoration of June 12 to call on the federal government to also declare a national holiday in honour of Azikiwe, who led Nigeria to independence on Oct. 1, 1960, as was obtained in a most African country who honoured their nationalists in that manner.
“The second anniversary of the declaration of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day should also be an opportunity for national introspection which should enable us to identify key national gaps and take concrete steps to correct them.
“One of the gaps is the failure to have a national holiday in honour of Dr Azikiwe, the man who led Nigeria to independence on Oct. 1, 1960.
“It is a supreme irony that the Ghanaians have a national holiday in honour of Kwame Nkrumah, just as the Tanzanians have in honour of Julius Nyerere and Kenyans in honour of Jomo Kenyatta.
“Nigerians have yet to give such an honour to the man who led them to independence, history beckons President Muhammadu Buhari to do the right thing, and so move Nigeria closer to national integration and cohesion,” he stated.