The Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led government of Lagos State has declared Monday as a public holiday in honour of the winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, the late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.
The state governor made this declaration known on Sunday, barely hours after the executives of Oyo, Ogun and Osun States had declared the same day as a public holiday in commemoration of the 24th anniversary of the late chief.
Ambode, in a statement issued by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tunji Bello, said the state remains committed to the ideals of the annulled 1993 Presidential election.
The governor added that the holiday was in honour of the ideals which June 12, 1993 Presidential election represented, being a day that the country experienced an election that was adjudged as the freest and fairest in Nigeria’s history.
He said that 24 years after, the ideals of June 12 are still worth celebrating, describing the day as one of the most defining moments of the country’s political history which had positively shaped its democracy.
Governor Ambode further urged Nigerians to go beyond the commemoration and strive to entrench a viable democracy.
He said that this was a way to immortalise the late winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, Chief M.K.O Abiola through the practice of true federalism and conduct of credible and fair elections.
“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.”
Ambode said that part of the enduring lessons of June 12 election was 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.
” 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,” Ambode said.
He described June 12 as the real Democracy Day in Nigeria.
“We owe it a duty to genuinely immortalise 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 said
He also assured that his administration would remain committed to the ideals of June 12 by carrying out people-oriented programmes across the State and making life more comfortable for the people.
Ambode said that State Government, through the office of Civic Engagement, had perfected arrangement for the annual public symposium which would hold on Monday to celebrate June 12.