President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday signed the Public Holiday Amendment bill into law, recognizing June 12 as Democracy Day and a public holiday, while outlawing May 29 as a public holiday.
From next year May 29 will only be a hand-over date without a public holiday.
According to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, the Act recognises June 12 as the official Democracy Day in Nigeria, stressing that June 12 has replaced May 29 which was introduced in 1999 as the official democracy day and the date now recognized as national public holiday by the Federal Government henceforth.
Enang said: "By the act amended and signed by Mr President, May 29 is no more a public holiday. June 12 is now a public holiday and the country's Democracy Day."
Since the return of democracy in 1999, May 29 had been observed as democracy day.
Late Chief Abiola was unofficially believed to have won the June 12, 1993, Presidential election, annulled by the military junta of General Ibrahim Babangida.
Abiola died in detention in 1998 while fighting to reclaim his mandate.
This year will be the first time the change of democracy day will be observed in the country.
Kwara shifts June 12 Meanwhile, the Kwara State Government has shifted activities commemorating the June 12 Democracy Day in the state to Friday, June 14.
According to a statement by Rafiu Ajakaye, the Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to the Governor, "This is to enable governors, including Governor Abdul Rahman AbdulRazaq, on the invitation of the Federal Government, to join the President and over 80 foreign leaders and dignitaries at the inaugural national commemoration of the day in the capital Abuja,
"What this means is that the event slated for the Metropolitan Square and State Banquet in Ilorin will now hold on Friday 14th June instead of Wednesday, June 12. Kwara will nonetheless observe the national holiday slated for June 12 as earlier announced by the Federal Government. There will be no new holiday on Friday."
The statement also noted that many other states are also changing their own schedule of the event to join President Buhari for the inaugural June 12 commemoration in Abuja.
"We urge the Kwara public and all invitees (from outside Kwara) to the events in Kwara State to please take note of this slight change in the schedule," it added.