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Democracy Day Nigeria: FG Declares Monday Public holiday

Democracy Day Nigeria: FG Declares Monday Public holiday. The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Interior, has declared Monday, June 13, as a public holiday in commemoration of Nigeria’s Democracy Day which comes up on June 12.

Democracy Day Nigeria

What Is Democracy?

Democracy is a form of government in which the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation, or to choose governing officials to do so. The notion of democracy has evolved over time considerably. The original form of democracy was a direct democracy. The most common form of democracy today is a representative democracy, where the people elect government officials to govern on their behalf such as in a parliamentary or presidential democracy.

When is Democracy Day Nigeria?

Democracy Day in Nigeria is on June 12th. It’s a national public holiday to mark the Nigerian general election on June 12th 1993.

It used to be celebrated on May 29th, but the date was moved to June 12th in 2019.

Here, we’ll discuss the history of Democracy Day Nigeria, what it means for Nigeria moving forward, and some relevant resources to help celebrate the day with your students.

See Also: Full List Of All Public Holidays in Nigeria

The Road to Democracy

The first serious attempt to institute democratic rule in Nigeria came in June of 1993 when Chief Moshood Abiola won a presidential election that was held shortly after the first successful elections for a bicameral National Assembly. However, in a move that was met with strong international condemnation, the existing military government annulled the election results and charged Moshood Abiola with treason for declaring himself president. Political unrest continued for several years under a series of military rulers before a plan was finally implemented to hold elections and transition to civilian control on May 29, 1999.

The First Elections

Nigeria’s first truly democratic elections in decades were held in early 1999, and though there were charges of fraud, intimidation and other improprieties, the result was a new era of democracy in Nigeria, with a new government composed of elected officials. A constitution was drafted and adopted on May 5, followed shortly by the swearing-in of President-elect Olusegun Obasanjo on May 29. Though allegations of government misdeeds and human rights violations continue to this day, the first Democracy Day is recognised for its role in ushering in improvements in civil liberties, a more free press and better representation from the government.

History of Nigerian Democracy Day

Since the year 2000, Democracy Day has been celebrated in Nigeria on May 29th.

However, in June 2018, Nigeria’s President Buhari made the announcement that Democracy Day would be moved to June 12th from 2019 onwards.

This was because they viewed the general election of June 12th 1993 as a more fitting date to celebrate, representing the values of democracy more than the events of May 1999.

On June 12 1993, there was a Nigerian general election. This was the first presidential election in 10 years since the 1983 military coup. Many political observers and Nigerians saw this election as the most significant date in Nigeria’s post-independence history, and it’s viewed as the freest and fairest election held in Nigeria.

MKO Abiola of the Social Democratic Party was agreed to have won the election after around 14 million Nigerians exercised their democratic rights and voted in the election. This would have put an end to eight years of military dictatorships.

However, the election was annulled by President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, who claimed there were irregularities.

See Also: Geopolitical Zones in Nigeria And Their States (Full List)

It’s now agreed by most foreign observers that the initial election result was free and fair, and it should never have been annulled. Of the 30 states, Abiola won 19 of them. There were around 14 million votes cast in total, and Abiola received over 8 million.

After the result was annulled, there were violent protests across the south-west regions of Nigeria, and the government shut down media houses and arrested journalists who covered the issue. The final result was eventually leaked by activists who defied the laws to reveal the Abiola majority. Abiola was eventually arrested, detained and charged with treason after declaring himself the true President.

As such, Democracy Day is now celebrated on June 12th to commemorate this election, and MKO Abiola (who should have won the annulled election) was awarded the honour of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic.

After a long and arduous journey towards it, Nigeria is now the fourth-largest democracy in the world.

Democracy Day 2022, 2023 and 2024 in Nigeria

One of Nigeria’s most well-known holiday is Democracy Day. In June 2018, President Buhari announced that the holiday will be celebrated every 12 June starting in 2019. Democracy Day had previously been observed every 29 May.

Year Date Day Holiday
2022 12 Jun Sun Democracy Day
2023 12 Jun Mon Democracy Day
2024 12 Jun Wed Democracy Day
2025 12 Jun Thu Democracy Day
2026 12 Jun Fri Democracy Day

See Also: Top 20 Most Populated States in Nigeria (Updated)

Is Democracy Day a Public Holiday?

Democracy Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.


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