Democracy Day

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Democracy Day is a national public holiday in Nigeria. From 2019, it will be celebrated on 12 June each year. It was previously observed on 29 May.

The holiday marks the annulled general election of 12 June 1993.

History of Nigerian Democracy Day

Since 2000, Nigeria has been celebrating 29 May as Democracy Day.

With the election of General Olusegun Obasanjo as President, 29 May 199 was the second time in Nigeria’s history that an elected civilian administration was restored after the rule of a military junta. The first time this happened was on 21 October 1979.

In June 2018, President Buhari announced that Democracy Day would move to 12 June from 2019.

The view of the federal government is that the annulled general election of 12 June 1993 is a more fitting occasion for Democracy Day to represent the events of May 1999.

12 June 1993 many millions of Nigerians expressed their democratic will in a general election. The election was presumed to have been won in a landslide by the standard bearer of the Social Democratic Party, MKO Abiola, who contested against Maman Tofa of the National Republican Convention.

Despite foreign observers generally describing the elections as free and fair, the then Military President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida annulled the elections,citing some irregularities.

In recent years, several states have declared 12 June as a public holiday to commemorate the annulled election.

In the decision to move Democracy Day, the Government has also decided to award posthumously the highest honour of the land, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR), to late Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the 12 June 1993 cancelled elections.

The Commemoration and investiture will take place on Tuesday 12 June 2018, a date which in future years will replace 29 May as a National Public Holiday in celebration of Nigeria Democracy Day.

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