Nigeria celebrates Democracy Day today, June 12. This national public holiday holds great significance as it commemorates democracy in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It marks a moment in the country’s history when power was transferred from the military to an elected civilian government in 1999.
Democracy Day was previously observed on May 29, but in 2018, the Government adjusted the date to June 12 to honor the memory of Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola, a Nigerian politician who played a crucial role in the struggle for democracy. May 29 held significance as the day Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) took office as the President of Nigeria in 1999, effectively ending several decades of military rule that had persisted since 1966.
June 12, formerly known as Abiola Day, had been celebrated in Nigeria as a day to honor Chief Abiola’s contributions towards democracy. Chief Abiola, who contested the presidential election in 1993 and emerged as the winner, was unfortunately denied the opportunity to assume office by the then military government, leading to widespread chaos.
As Nigeria observes Democracy Day, it is important to recognize the strides made in consolidating democratic governance. Happy Democracy Day, Nigeria.