Declare November 16 National Public Holiday, Anambra Assembly Urges Buhari 

Raymond Ozoji, Awka

The 7th Anambra State House of Assembly has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare November 16th of every year a national public holiday.

This was in accordance with the motion moved by Hon. Obinna Chris Emeneka of Anambra-East state constituency yesterday during plenary.

He said the date was the day the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was born and as such deserved to be given such honour and recognition.

Emeneka took cognizance of the fact that the foremost nationalist and first elected president of Nigeria was a mentor to the likes of Moshood Abiola, Kwame Nkuruma of Ghana and a host of other great men and women living and dead.

In the motion, the lawmaker recalled that President Buhari had visited Anambra state to commission the late Zik Mausoleum in Onitsha and described the late political sage as a symbol of national unity.

The lawmaker also recalled that Governor Willie Obiano had requested from President Buhari that November 16 be declared a national holiday. He said that the late elder statesman contributed in no small measure to the growth, unity and Independence of Nigeria.

Shedding more details on the import of the motion, Emeneka alluded to the 5th stanza of the national anthem which he said implied that the labours of our heroes past shall not be in vain stressing that the noble role of the late Dr Azikiwe cannot be overemphasized.

The lawmaker also stated that the late political icon was the harbinger of modern nationalism as well as a detribalised Nigerian. He urged Buhari to consider November 16 a national holiday having declared June 12 national democracy day.

Douglas Nwachukwu Egbuna of Onitsha-North 1 state constituency described Dr. Azikiwe as an enigma of all times and an architect of modern civilization in Nigeria noting that he deserved every form of accolades Nigeria could offer him in death.

Chuka Ezewunne of Idemili-South state constituency equally said that it would amount to ridicule and caricature if the great Zik of Africa was not recognized in a country he was instrumental to its Independence and freedom from colonial rule.

Uzoma Eli of Onitsha-South 1 state constituency said he was also a beneficiary of the mentorship of the late Zik of Africa, stressing that he was in total support of the motion and therefore enjoined the federal government to do the needful.

Contributing to the motion, the lawmaker representing Awka-North state constituency, Hon. John Nwokoye, observed that the marginalisation of Ndigbo in the country was getting out of hand. He suggested that the bill be extended to federal lawmakers of Anambra origin and to federal lawmakers of other southeast states to enable them to speak in unison in demanding that November 16 be set aside as a national holiday in recognition of the monumental accomplishments of the great Zik of Africa for the Nigerian nation.

The Speaker of the parliament Rt. Hon. Uche Okafor in his submissions observed that it was very pathetic that Zik has not been properly recognized in a country he fought for her Independence from colonial rule.

He said the state assembly would ensure that November 16 would be adopted as statewide public holiday in honour of the great Zik of Africa while efforts would be made to reach out to their colleagues from Anambra at the national assembly to further press home the demand for a national holiday in honour of the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe.

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