Paul Osuyi, Asaba
There were no celebrations in Delta State, yesterday, in commemoration of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
But the public holiday declared by the Federal Government was observed in public and private establishments in the oil rich state.
A Government House source said the June 12 celebration was “unnecessary for now because we just celebrated Democracy Day on May 29 when the governor and his deputy took oath of office for the second term.
“Besides, the bill recognising June 12 as Democracy Day was signed just recently hence, there is really no time for us to prepare for another round of celebration after that of May 29.”
Similarly, there was no celebration in Nasarawa State, in spite of President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration of the day as the new Democracy Day, by to honour Moshood Abiola, the winner of June 12, 1993 Presidential election.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Governor Abdullahi Sule did not line up any activity to mark the day.
NAN also reported that this was supposed to be the first Democracy Day with Sule, as governor, and no reason was given for the development.
Lafia, the state capital, and some towns in the state were quiet, just as most of the highways were largely deserted; due to the public holiday.
However, some private schools in Akwanga and Lafia did not observe the public holiday as students and pupils were seen receiving lessons in classes when NAN correspondent visited the schools.
When NAN interviewed some residents of the state, they commended Buhari for honouring Abiola, more than two decades after he was denied his mandate.
In Kwara, the state Government postponed activities commemorating Democracy Day to Friday June 14.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaiye, the postponement became necessary so as to enable Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, celebrate Democracy Day in Abuja, on the invitation of the Federal Government.
“What this means is that the event slated for the Metropolitan Square and State Banquet in Ilorin will now hold on Friday, June 14. Kwara will, nonetheless, observe the national holiday slated for June 12 as earlier announced by the federal government. There will be no new holiday on Friday,” Ajakaiye said.
In Niger State, there was nothing to suggest that the country observed June 12 as Democracy Day.
The absence of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello and his deputy, Alhaji Ahmed Ketso from the state, reduced the occasion to an ordinary public holiday; with no activity to mark the important day.
Aside government offices and public institutions that were closed, in compliance with the public holiday, there was nothing on ground to show that the state is also part of the celebration.
Only a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alhaji Isah Bala Ibrahim, was the only activity that gave indication of democracy day in the state.
It was gathered that the inability of the governor to make any appointment, barely one month after his inauguration, compounded the situation with every activity as it lowest ebb.
Regardless, immediate past governor of the state and chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, hailed Nigeria for observing June 12 as Democracy Day.
Uduaghan in a statement by his media assistant, Monoyo Edon said Nigeria has earned her respect in the comity of nations for recognising the June 12, 1993 election, 26 years after, and honouring Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola as winner.
“This year’s Democracy Day is very significant to our political journey because we are celebrating it on June 12. It was Winston Churchill who said that history is an account of victors. We are all victors today because we are living the true meaning of an important part of our history. History will not forget Abiola’s contributions and all those who were victims of the day.”