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June 12: Obiano hails Buhari over renaming of Abuja stadium after MKO

- The signing into law of a national holiday in honour of late Moshood Abiola and the renaming of a national stadium after him by the presidency has attracted a lot of commendation

- One of those who praised President Muhammadu Buhari for these moves is Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state

- Obiano also called on President Buhari to follow similar steps in honouring Nigeria's former head of state, late Nnamdi Azikiwe

The governor of Anambra state, Willie Obiano, has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for immotrtalising late Moshood Abiola, by proclaiming in his honour a national holiday and renaming the Abuja National Stadium after him.

Governor Obiano, speaking through the state's state commissioner for information and public enlightenment, Don Adinuba, said that Abiola's memory deserved the honour bestowed on it.

He said: “We have watched with admiration how President Buhari first announced in the first week of June, 2018, his intention to make June 12 a national holiday and bestowed on Abiola Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, Nigeria’s highest national honour given to only heads of state.

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“President Buhari followed it up with an appropriate bill in the National Assembly and then assented to it on passage, thus changing Nigeria’s Democracy Day from May 29, in commemoration of the day the military handed over the Nigerian national leadership to elected civilians on May 29, 1999, to June 12, in remembrance of the day the historic election between MKO of the Social Democratic Party and Bashir Tofa of the National Republican Convention was held.

“On the occasion of the first anniversary of June 12 as Democracy Day in honour of a great Nigerian patriot, it has become imperative to remind President Buhari of the request I made to him on behalf of the government and people of Anambra State when he visited Onitsha to commission the newly completed Zik Mausoleum last January 24 that he should declare Zik’s birthday a national holiday.”

“Ghanaians observe the birthday of their first president, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, himself a Zik protégé. Tanzanians observe a national holiday in memory of their first president, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, as Angolans do in memory of Dr Agustiono Neto, their first president.

“The Great Zik of Africa was not just Nigeria’s first president or the man who led Nigeria to independence in 1960, but was Nigeria’s first indigenous Governor General and the first Senate President.

“He was the first Nigerian to build a bank, thus inspiring his colleagues as regional premiers in the 1950s to establish their own banks. He was also the first Nigerian to set up a university, and consequently challenged his peers to follow in his footsteps.

“A Nigerian nationalist of incomparable status and a man of letters through and through, the Great Zik of Africa had established as early as the 1950s newspapers in Ibadan, Zaria, Kano, Onitsha, Port Harcourt and, of course, Lagos to fight for Nigeria’s liberation from oppressive colonial rule.

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“Zik inspired a generation of Africans, including the late President Nkrumah of Ghana, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Dr Nwafor Orizu, who became Nigeria’s second Senate President.

“It has, therefore, become a national scandal that a national holiday has yet to be declared in honour of this great African son. The people and government of Anambra State once again call upon President Buhari to declare November 16 of every year a national holiday in commemoration of Dr Azikiwe’s birthday.”

Meanwhile, Legit.ng reported that President Buhari had renamed the Abuja Stadium as the Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola Stadium.

The president made this decision in honour of the late businessman and presidential aspirant on Wednesday, June 12.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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