Journalists want November 16 declared public holiday to honour Azikiwe

Journalists want November 16 declared public holiday to honour Azikiwe

Nnamdi Azikiwe

A forum of journalists in the south-east Nigeria, known as Izunwanne, has called for the declaration of November 16 as a public holiday in honour of the first President of Nigeria, the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.

This was contained in a letter to south-east governors made available to the media on Friday in Yenagoa.

The letter, signed by the chairman of the forum Mr Abuchi Anuenyiagu, the forum cited a historical background to justify the call to honour the late Azikiwe.

They recalled that Nigeria attained Republican status on November 16, 1963, which coincided with the birthday of Azikiwe.

“It is  a known fact that Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was instrumental to the inauguration of November 16 as Nigeria’s Republic Day.

“The concept was to make that day, a National Day.” The letter read.

It noted that Zik was the symbol of Nigeria’s nationhood, considering his leading role in the pre-independence struggle for self-rule by Nigeria.

Others they noted was his initiative to end the civil war, and his great ideas and liberal ideals that never discriminated against any Nigerian ethnic group.

The group explained that it was on the basis of all these that the forum urged the south-east governors to support and spearhead the initiative for the declaration of November 16 being the birthday anniversary of Zik as a national day.

The group urged governments of the five states in the south-east geo-political zone to emulate their south-west counterparts, such as in the case of June 12 struggle and take lead to declare November 16 a public holiday in honour of Azikiwe.

They said that Azikiwe, fondly referred to as Zik of Africa, was a south-easterner who once led the defunct Eastern Region and recorded great achievements in his time before advancing the campaign to the national level.(NAN)