Zimbabwe: Mohadi in Nigeria to Mark Democracy Day

Abuja — Vice President Kembo Mohadi arrived in Abuja, Nigeria, yesterday to join Heads of State and Government and representatives from different countries in celebrating the West African country's Democracy Day celebrations to be held today.

Democracy Day marks the beginning of civilian rule from decades of military rule since Nigeria's independence from colonial rule in 1960.

VP Mohadi was welcomed at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja by Zimbabwe's Ambassador to Nigeria Mr Lovemore Mazemo, embassy staff, Nigeria's Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mr Ernest Umakhihe and senior government officials from Nigeria.

He immediately inspected a Guard of Honour mounted by Nigerian Army at the airport's Presidential wing before he was whisked to his hotel.

In a brief interview at the airport, VP Mohadi said he was keen to learn how Nigeria commemorated its national days.

He said Zimbabwe and Nigeria enjoyed good bilateral relations dating back to the liberation struggle.

"I am here representing the President who could not come because of other commitments. I have come to learn how they commemorate their days. Democracy Day is a very important day in the history of Nigeria," said VP Mohadi.

Nigeria Democracy Day will be celebrated on June 12, for the first time in the history of the populous country from the traditional May 29 since 1999.

The Federal Government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari has since declared Democracy Day a public holiday after Senate last month passed the Public Holiday Act Amendment Bill to recognise June 12 as the new day.

Nigeria has been commemorating Democracy Day on May 29, as the day meant to remember the struggle which led to the exit of the military from power in 1999 and the roles played by the democracy activists.

But it is June 12, 1993, which is regarded as a watershed episode in Nigeria's history as it ushered in presidential election result which was won by the late Chief Moshood Abiola, but was subsequently annulled by the then military Government led by General Ibrahim Babangida.

This led to a battle to actualise the mandate of civilian rule which was eventually realised in 1999.

It, therefore, took 26 years and under the Seventh administration after the annulment of the election result to recognise June 12 as the ideal Democracy Day.

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