A forum of journalists in the South-East geopolitical zone, Izunwanne, has added its voice to the growing demands for the declaration of November 16 as a public holiday to honour the first President of Nigeria, the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) the demand was made in a letter to South-East governors on Friday.
The chairman of the forum, Mr Abuchi Anuenyiagu, in letter, cited a historical background to justify the call to honour Azikiwe.
They recalled that Nigeria attained Republican status on November 16, 1963, which coincided with the birthday of Azikiwe.
The letter stated that, “Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was instrumental to the inauguration of November 16 as Nigeria’s Republic Day.
“The concept was to make that day, a National Day.”
It noted that Zik was the symbol of Nigeria’s nationhood, considering his leading role in the pre-independence struggle for self-rule by Nigeria.
Others they noted was his initiative to end the civil war, and his great ideas and liberal ideals that never discriminated against any Nigerian ethnic group.
The group explained that it was on the basis of all these that the forum urged the South-East governors to support and spearhead the initiative for the declaration of November 16 being the birthday anniversary of Zik as a national day.
The group urged governments of the five states in the South-East zone to emulate their South -West counterparts, such as in the case of June 12 struggle and take lead to declare November 16 a public holiday in honour of Azikiwe.
The Anambra State government, under the incumbent governor, Willie Obiano has been leading the campaign to honor Zik with a declaration of his birthday as a public holiday.
They stated that Azikiwe, fondly known as Zik of Africa, was a South-Easterner who once led the defunct Eastern Region and recorded great achievements in his time before advancing the campaign to the national level.(NAN)