Governor Fashola declares June 12 work-free day in Lagos

Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, on Monday approved that Wednesday, June 12, 2013, be observed as a work free day in the state in commemoration of June 12, 1993 annulled elections.  This was contained in a circular issued yesterday by the Head of Service, Mr. Adesegun Ogunlewe. According to the circular, “In commemoration of June 12, 1993 as significant in the actualisation of democracy in Nigeria, it is hereby notified for general information that His Excellency, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, the Governor of Lagos State has approved Wednesday, June 12, 2013 as a work free day.’” The circular further enjoined all workers in the state to attend events organised by various government agencies and groups to commemorate the day. Meanwhile, Lagos State House of Assembly insisted on Monday that June 12 of every year remains the genuine Democracy Day for Nigeria. The Assembly restated this in a statement on Monday by Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Publicity, Strategy and Security, Segun Olulade. It stressed that the critical import of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, “cannot, in any way, be relegated to the background whenever and wherever discussions are held on the history of the enthronement of the current civil democratic dispensation in the country.” The election was widely acclaimed to have been won by late businessman, Moshood Abiola. SEE MORE AFTER CUT>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The statement argued that June 12 represents the collective will of the Nigerian masses and a demonstration of the people’s preference for democracy in lieu of military dictatorship, saying “all well-meaning Nigerians and lovers of truth will readily admit that June 12 takes primacy over any other date in the history of democracy in Nigeria.” It affirmed that in appreciation of the significance of the election in the democratic evolution of Nigeria, Lagos State House of Assembly had passed a resolution declaring June 12 as “the genuine Democracy Day that is worthy of celebration by all lovers of democracy, social justice and good governance in Nigeria.”  The statement added: “The Lagos State House of Assembly, in its usual character as a front-liner in the struggle for democratic values and better governance in Nigeria would remain committed to the spirit of June 12.” It disclosed that a special parliamentary session will hold on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at the State Assembly Complex in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the election. The theme of the special parliamentary session, according to the statement, is ‘June 12 and the Entrenchment of Democracy in Nigeria.’ Professor Pat Utomi, a former Presidential candidate of Advanced Democratic Party (ADP), and Professor Abubakar Momoh, a scholar from the Lagos State University, are expected to be the two guest lecturers at the event. Similarly, former General Secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Frank Kokori, is expected as a guest lecturer at a one-day event being organised by the Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to mark the anniversary. Kokori, a major player during the battle for the actualisation of the June 12 mandate, will be speaking on the theme, ‘Post June 12: The Good and the Bad’, at the lecture which will hold on Wednesday at the Ondo Hall, Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja. According to a statement by Chairman of the Lagos NUJ, Deji Elumoye, and Secretary, Sylva Okereke, those to discuss Kokori’s paper include Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana; former Managing Director of Concord Press Limited, Doyin Abiola. Former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, is expected to chair the lecture while his successor, Babatunde Fashola, is to be the chief host with former Governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba, as special guest of honour. Other dignitaries expected at the lecture include former NADECO chieftain, Alani Akinrinade;  former  Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele; and former Governor of Osun State, Bisi Akande. National President of the NUJ, Mohammed Garba, is the host while past and present leaders of the union would also be in attendance. Also at the weekend, a group, June 12 Coalition of Democratic Formations (J12CODEF), noted that 20 years after the annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections, Nigeria is still living with the dire consequences and enmeshed with crisis worse than it has ever been in the history of the nation. It also called for the convening of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) to address the ills in the country and find lasting solutions. The coalition, at a press conference jointly addressed by its Chairman, Baba Omojola, and Secretary, Nelson Ekujumi, called on public office holders to yield to the call for a SNC to save the nation from further collapse. From Ilorin also came a report that pro-democracy activist and National Vice President of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Taiwo Otitolaye, said the country needs to learn from developments from June 12, 1993 election before it could find its way to political and socio-economic greatness. Otitolaye like others, insisted that the June 12 election remains a reference point in the political development of the country and could not therefore be wished away.

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