June 12 is Democracy Day, a national public holiday in Nigeria.
Until June 6, 2018, it was held annually on May 29.
Democracy Day marks the day the military handed over power to an elected civilian government in 1999, marking the beginning of the longest continuous civilian rule since Nigeria’s independence from colonial rule in 1960.
It is a tradition that has been held annually, beginning in year 2000.
June 12 was formerly known as Abiola Day, celebrated in Lagos, Nigeria and some south western states 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.
Buhari would give his inaugural address for his second term on June 12, 2019. These were 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.
It was, however, cancelled by the Ibrahim Babangida Junta. MKO Abiola was later detained after he declared himself the president.
Abiola died in prison under circumstances questioned till date. He has been declared the hero of June 12. And this date brings to mind the question, “who killed Abiola?”
The Union Nigeria, finds interesting, a video clip detailing the cross examination of Major Muhammad Aliyu by Femi Falana in the hearings of Oputa Panel on the death of Chief Moshood Abiola.
Major Aliyu was the chief security officer to Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, who became the military head of state just before Mr. Abiola died.