Group urges FG to name Nov 16 public holiday in honour of Azikiwe

July 26, 2020
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A forum of journalists from the South-Eastern part of Nigeria, Izunnwanne, has called on the federal government to declare November 16 as a public holiday in honour of the first indigenous President of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe.

The late Azikiwe also the Owelle of Onitsha, a traditional chieftaincy position in the kingdom was born on November 16, 1904. Nigeria had also attained the status of a republic in November 16, 1963.

The group in a letter it sent to the Southeast Governors’ Forum, signed by its Chairman, Sir Abuchi Anuenyiagu, and Secretary, Mr Ugwuoke Ugwuoke, laid a historical background to its call to honour the legendary late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.

According to the body, “Nigeria attained the status of a republic on Nov. 16, 1963, and this coincides with the birthday of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.

“it’s is a known fact that Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, as President and Commander-In-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was instrumental to the inauguration of Nov. 16 as Nigeria’s Republic Day.

“The concept is to make that day a National Day. It is regrettable that 57 years after, the significant historical omission has yet to be addressed.’’

The group added that there was a need to honour Azikiwe, saying that he remains the symbol of Nigeria’s Nationhood, considering his leading role in the pre-independence struggle for self-rule by Nigeria.

“His initiative to end the civil war, and his great ideas and liberal ideals that never discriminated against any Nigerian tribe is worth of honour.

“It is on the basis of all these that we urge the Southeast Governors to support and spearhead the initiative for the dedication, recognition and declaration of Nov. 16 (being the birthday anniversary of Zik) as a National Day, to be marked as a public holiday in honour of Zik.

Since charity begins at home, the group urged the governments of the five states in the Southeast geo-political zone to emulate their southwest counterparts, like in the case of June 12, and take the lead to declare Nov. 16 a work-free day in honour of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.

“Given the fact that he was a South Easterner, who once led the defunct Eastern Region and recorded great achievements for the region in his time, before advancing the campaign to the National level.’’

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