YENAGOA – Despite the presidential proclamation of June 12 as the new Democracy Day in Nigeria, there was no celebration of any kind in Bayelsa State on Wednesday.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on June 10, 2019, signed into law the Public Holiday (Amendment) Bill, which gave recognition to June 12 as a public holiday in the country, replacing May 29 that was previously marked as Democracy Day.
Buhari’s assent followed the passage of the amendment to the National Holiday Act to move Nigeria’s Democracy Day from May 29 to June 12.
Checks indicated that the Bayelsa State government under Governor Seriake Dickson did not line up activities to commemorate Democracy Day.
Public spaces in Yenagoa such as the Samson Siasia Sport Complex and the Isaac Boro Peace Park, which are known venues for public events, were like graveyards on Wednesday.
Except workers and students who stayed away from their offices and classrooms, there was nothing to suggest it was a public holiday in the state.
It was gathered that the governor, his deputy and several other government officials were also not in town as they were said to have travelled to Abuja to felicitate with the National Assembly members from Bayelsa who were also sworn in as members of the Ninth National Assembly on Tuesday.
But the state government, however, explained that Bayelsa was not the only state in the federation that did not observe June 12 as Democracy Day.
Daniel Alabrah, the Special Adviser on Public Affairs to the Governor, said that the bill officially recognising June 12 as new Democracy Day was signed into law only some days ago.
He also stated that before now, Bayelsa did not celebrate June 12, adding that only the states in the South- West geo-political zone were known to have commemorated the date every year.
Alabrah said: “Well, they just passed the bill. Before now, we (Bayelsa) didn’t celebrate June 12 as Democracy Day. They just passed the bill and the Federal Government just started it this year.
Source: independent nigeria