The Anambra State government has declared Monday, November 16, a work-free day in honour of Nigeria’s first Executive President, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, who was born on November 16, 1904, in Zungeru in today’s Niger State.
The Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr Don Adinuba, who declared this in a statement, in Awka, said that all government offices except those which provide essential services will not open for business, just like the organized private sector and open markets in the state.
He said the second time Anambra State will observe Dr Azikiwe’s birthday as a work-free day since Governor Willie Obiano announced the annual observance in January 2019.
He said Governor Obiano has reiterated his call on the Federal Government to declare November 16 a national holiday in honour of Dr Azikiwe who led Nigeria to independence on October 1, 1960.
In a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, Obiano noted that “the failure thus far to declare the birthday of the Great Zik of Africa a national holiday has become not just a national but also an international scandal.
“The Ghanaians observe President Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday as a national holiday. Angolans observe Dr Agostino Neto’s birthday as a national holiday, just the way Tanzanians do the birthday of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
“Interesting enough, it was the Great Zik of Africa who mentored Dr Nkrumah whom he discovered when he was editing the African Morning Post in Ghana and sent him to his alma mater in the United States, Lincoln University, the first historically black university in America, to study the humanities just like himself.
“Zik inspired a generation of Africans, including Nigerians, into African nationalism.
“The list includes Chief Obafemi Awolowo who wrote that he decided to study law in the United Kingdom after watching Zik address the Nigerian Youth Movement in Yaba, Lagos; in appreciation Chief Awolowo launched his Nigerian Tribune Newspapers on November 16, 1949, Zik’s 45th birthday.
“Another great Nigerian whom Zik inspired into embracing pan Africanism was the late Chief MKO Abiola, who won the 1993 presidential election fair and square but was tragically denied victory. The Nigerian people are consoled by the fact that this great Zikist has officially been declared the winner of the historic vote, though posthumously, and June 12 proclaimed a national holiday.”
Governor Obiano declared that Dr Azikiwe remains Nigeria’s most detribalized leader in Nigerian history, the statement concluded.