Anambra declares November 16 public holiday for Nnamdi Azikiwe, founder of modern Nigeria

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Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe

AWKA – Anambra State Government has declared Monday, November 16, a work-free day in honour of founder of modern Nigeria and country’s first President, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, who born on November 16, 1904, in Zungeru in today’s Niger State.

All government offices, except those which provide essential , will not open for business, just like organised private sector and open markets in state.

According a statement by state Commissioner for Information and Enlightenment, C Don Adinuba, this is the second time Anambra State will observe Dr Azikiwe’s birthday as a work-free day since Willie Obiano announced the annual observance in January, 2019.

Obiano has, meanwhile, reiterated his call on the Federal Government declare November 16 a national holiday in honour of Dr Azikiwe who led Nigeria independence on October 1, 1960.

In a letter Buhari, Chief Obiano noted “the failure thus far  declare the birthday of the Great Zik of Africa a national holiday has become not just a national embarrassment, but also an international scandal.

“The Ghanaians observe President Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday as a national holiday. Angolans observe Dr Agostino Neto’s birthday as a national holiday, just the way Tanzanians do the birthday of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

“Interesting enough, it the Great Zik of Africa who mentored Dr Nkrumah whom he discovered when he editing the African Morning Post in Ghana and sent him to his alma mater in the United , Lincoln University, the first historically black university in America, to study the humanities just like himself.

“Zik inspired a generation of Africans, including Nigerians, into African nationalism.

“The list includes Chief Obafemi Awolowo who wrote he decided to study law in the United Kingdom after watching Zik address the Youth Movement in Yaba, Lagos; in appreciation Chief Awolowo launched his Tribune Newspapers on November 16, 1949, Zik’s 45th birthday.

“Another great whom Zik inspired into embracing pan Africanism the Chief MKO Abiola, who won the 1993 presidential election fair and square but was tragically denied victory. The are consoled by the this great Zikist has officially been declared winner of the historic vote, though posthumously, and June 12 proclaimed a national holiday.”

Obiano declared that Dr Azikiwe remains the most detribalised in Nigerian history.

He spoke the three main Nigerian languages, gave his children non-Igbo names and fought more any person for Nigeria’s unity and indivisibility like all Pan Africanists of his generation who were determined to prove to the world that Africans were capable of governing themselves admirably in peace and unity.

“When he founded the University of Nigeria at Nsukka in 1960, he named key places on the campus after such Nigerian leaders as Chief Samuel Akintola, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Professor Eyo Ita and Sir Abubakar Tafewa Balewa, even though they were his political opponents,” Governor Obiano stated.

“At a time most in the world did not reckon with women, The Great Zik of Africa ensured that halls of residence at the UNN were named for Mrs Funmilayo -Kuti and Mrs Margaret Ekpo.

“Dr Azikiwe lived ahead of his generation. That was why he could establish the country’s first indigenous university and also the nation’s first indigenous bank when Africans were discriminated against in various endeavours.

“These institutions played critical roles in Nigeria’s rapid economic development.

“Nigeria is in dire of transformational leaders like Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the symbol of national unity and progress. All Nigerians are grateful to the memory of this great man of philosophy and action.”