The Federal Government of Nigeria has declared May 29 and June 12 as national holidays.

Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who made the declaration, also said the May 29 Inauguration Day would be a low-key affair because the “country can ill-afford two major celebrations within a two-week interval”.

June 12 has now been earmarked as the nation’s new Democracy Day in posthumous recognition of the June 12, 1993, election which was won by Chief MKO Abiola.

Chief M.K.O Abiola won the June 12, 1993 election that was annulled by military dictator IBB (Punch)
Chief M.K.O Abiola won the June 12, 1993 election that was annulled by military dictator IBB (Punch)

The election was subsequently annulled by then Military ruler, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.

Abiola died on July 7, 1998, during the struggle to recover his “stolen mandate”.

Remember the time and dates

According to Lai Mohammed, these are the dates you should underline in your calendar should you want to attend any of the events lined up to commemorate both days in the nation’s calendar.

  • 11am on Monday, May 20, World Press Conference at the National Press Center.
  • 10am on Tuesday, May 21, National Youth Entrepreneurship Empowerment Summit at the International Conference Center (ICC).
  • 9am on Friday, May 24, Special Jumma’at Lecture and Prayer at the National Mosque.
  • 4pm on Saturday, May 25, First Lady’s Interaction with women at the Old Chamber State House.
  • 3pm on Sunday, May 26, Special Interdenominational Church Service at the National Christian Center.
  • 7 am and 1 pm on May 27 for Children’s Day Broadcast by Mr. President and Children’s variety party, respectively at the State House.
  • 8am and 8 pm on Wednesday, May 29 for the swearing-in ceremony and State Banquet at Eagle Square and State House Conference Center respectively.
  • 9am on June 7-12, historical exhibition in Arts, pictures and immersive environment at the ICC.
  • 4pm on Sunday, June 9, Youth concert, creative industry and entertainment night at ICC.
  • 9am on Monday, June 10, Secondary Schools exhibition panel discussion at ICC.
  • 9 am, 10 am and 11 am on Tuesday, June 11, PMB oratorical contest, anti-corruption summit and First Lady’s commissioning program at the ICC, Transcorp Hilton and Yola, Adamawa respectively.
  • 9 am and 7 pm on June 12, Democracy Day Parade, Dinner and Gala Night at the Eagle Square and State House Conference Center respectively.

Inauguration

President Buhari declared June 12 as the nation’s new Democracy Day on June 6, 2018.

According to Mohammed, “President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration for a second term on May 29, 2019, will be a low-key affair, as a number of the events slated for the inauguration will now be held during the first observance of June 12 as the National Democracy Day.

Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed says May 29 inauguration feast would be a low-key one (Punch)  Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed says May 29 inauguration feast would be a low-key one (Punch)

“The decision to have a low-key inauguration for the President was taken at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday, May 8, 2019”, Mohammed said.

The Minister added that: “Invitations have been sent to all world leaders to attend the ceremonies marking the observance of the Democracy Day on June 12.

“Since the first observance of June 12 as Democracy Day falls into an election year, and as a measure to sustain June 12 as Democracy Day, the celebration of the inauguration and the advancement of democracy in the country will now take place on June 12. The country can ill-afford two major celebrations within a two-week interval”.

Buhari beat opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar to win a second term in office on February 23, 2019.

Mr. Abubakar of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is challenging the outcome of the election in court. He has called the vote a “sham” and an “emasculation of democracy”.