Happy Democracy Day Dear Nigerians!
Democracy Day is a national public holiday in Nigeria. It marks the day the military handed over power to an elected civilian government in 1999, marking the beginning of the longest continuous civilian rule since Nigeria’s independence from colonial rule in 1960. It is a tradition that has been held annually, beginning in year 2000.
Until June 6 2018, it was held annually on May 29.
With the election of General Olusegun Obasanjo as President, May 29th 1999 was the second time in Nigeria’s history that an elected civilian administration was restored after the rule of a military junta. The first time this happened was on October 21st 1979.
On June 6, 2018, the President Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria declared June 12 to be the new Democracy Day.
Buhari gave his inaugural address for his second term on June 12, 2019. These were done to commemorate the democratic election of MKO Abiola on June 12, 1993, in what has been adjudged to be Nigeria’s freest and fairest elections. It was, however, wrongly cancelled by the Ibrahim Babangida Junta. MKO Abiola was later detained after he rightfully declared himself the president. Chief MKO Abiola died mysteriously after drinking tea during the negotiation of his release. He started coughing in the presence of Kofi Annan and later died in the hospital.
Thus, in June 2018, President Buhari announced that Democracy Day would move to June 12th from 2019. The view of the federal government is that the annulled general election of June 12th 1993 is a more fitting occasion for Democracy Day to represent than the events of May 1999.
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