By Our Correspondents
The governments of Lagos , Ogun , Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun, Osun and Oyo states have declared today as public holiday to mark June 12 celebration in their states.
The governors made the declaration variously through statements issued in the respective states, yesterday.
In a statement signed by the Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Mr Tunji Bello on behalf of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, the government 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 June 12, 1993 Presidential election, Chief M.K.O Abiola through the practice of true federalism and conduct of credible and fair elections.
He said, “June 12, 1993 is a day we must not forget in the annals of our democratic history. 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.”
Governor Ambode said part of 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.
Ambode said though the peoples’ hope was dashed with the annulment of the elections by the military junta, the lessons of the elections 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.
In Ekiti State, Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has declared Monday a public holiday in honour of the winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.
In a statement issued on Sunday in Ado Ekiti, Fayose said he took the decision to join his other colleagues in the South West in the spirit of the unity of the region.
He said, “Youruba nation’s interest is beyond personal interest of anyone. For us to forge ahead as a people, we must speak with one voice.
“In the light of this, I declare Monday a public holiday to further strengthen our collective belief, hope and aspirations.
“This, I have done in the spirit of Yoruba nation and South West integration.”