President Muhammadu Buhari has again been urged to declare the birthday of the first Nigerian President, late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, a national holiday.
Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano who made the request yesterday also commended President Buhari for naming the Abuja National Stadium after late Chief MKO Abiola.
In a statement by the state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C. Don Adinuba, the governor said some African countries celebrate their first Presidents, like Zik with national holidays.
He said, “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. He 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.
“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 end this national blight by declaring November 16 of every year a national holiday in commemoration of Dr Azikiwe’s birthday.”
Speaking on Abiola, the Anambra State governor said honouring the winner of the June 12, 1993, presidential vote, with a national holiday and renaming the National Stadium in Abuja after him was commendable.