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Democracy Day: The Story Behind It

Many know the Nigerian Democracy day but not many know the story behind it

Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, popularly referred to as MKO Abiola was a businessman, publisher and politician. He contested for the presidency at the 1993 Nigeria elections which held on June 12, 1993. He was widely regarded as the winner although the final results weren’t released. The election was later annulled by the then Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida. MKO Abiola was later detained after he declared himself the president.

Nigeria’s Democracy Day is a public holiday to commemorate the restoration of democracy in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. May 29 was initially the official democracy day in Nigeria, marking when the newly elected Olusegun Obasanjo took office as the President of Nigeria in 1999, ending multiple decades of military rule that began in 1966 and had been interrupted only by a brief period of democracy from 1979 to 1983.

On June 6, 2018, eight days after May 29, 2018 had been celebrated as Democracy Day, the President Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria declared June 12 to be the new Democracy Day. This was done to commemorate the democratic election of MKO Abiola on June 12, 1993, in what has been adjudged to be Nigeria’s freest and fairest elections.

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