The Anambra State Government has declared Monday, November 18, 2019, a Public Holiday in honour of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first Executive President of Nigeria.
A statement signed by the State Head of Service (HoS), Barr. Harry Oduh and Chief Press Secretary to the State governor, Mr James Eze, and made available to newsmen in Awka, on Saturday, said that the declaration came on the heels of repeated appeals by the governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano to the Federal Government to declare a national public holiday in honour of Dr. Azikiwe, as has been done for other illustrious leaders across the continent who led their respective countries from the shackles of colonial rule to independence.
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According to him, Governor Obiano had used the opportunity of the commissioning of Zik Mausoleum in January this year to appeal that Nigeria should set aside a Public Holiday in honour of him, just as Ghana did for Kwame Nkrumah, as Kenya did for Jomoh Kenyatta, as Tanzania did for Julius Nyerere and as Angola did for Agostinho Neto.
He pointed out that the Great Zik of Africa had so much influence on the nationalist struggles for independence across Africa and played a unique brand of all-inclusive politics that left no place for ethnicity and religion all of which make the case for a national day in his honour very compelling.
Therefore, from this year onwards, November 16 has been set aside in Anambra State to commemorate Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, celebrate his legacies and reflect on the ideals and values that the great statesman lived and died for.
It is expected that in blazing the trail by setting a day aside for Zik, Anambra State Government is making the case for a national holiday in honour of Zik a compelling one.
It must be remembered that the Great Zik of Africa was one of the greatest Pan-Africanists who devoted his life and times to the struggle for the emancipation of Africa and people of African descent.
He said till today, Zik remains the only Nigerian President who spoke Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba fluently and the only one whose children bore names that reflect the three major ethnic groups in the country.
In addition, Zik made great sacrifices and placed his life in so many grave dangers while leading the struggle for Nigeria’s independence and he also made so many concessions and compromises after independence to give Nigeria the chance she deserved.
A national public holiday in his honour is, therefore, an equivalent of giving honour to whom it is due.
Following this declaration, Monday, November 18, 2019, shall be observed as a work-free day in Anambra State, the statement concluded.