Awka – Tuesday, November 16, 2021, has been declared a work-free day in Anambra in honour of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria’s first president who was born on November 16, 1904.
This is the third consecutive year Anambra State is observing the birthday anniversary of the man who led Nigeria to independence on October 1, 1960, and is popularly known as The Great Zik of Africa because of his extraordinary Pan-African vision and commitment.
A statement on Monday by the State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C-Don Adinuba announcing the public holiday, recalled how it was the Great Zik of Africa who inspired such outstanding Pan-African leaders as Dr Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana who led his country to freedom from colonial rule on March 6, 1957.
“Zik, who was born in Zungeru in Niger State and grew up in Calabar and Lagos, studied various disciplines in the United States and remains the most urbane, cosmopolitan and intellectually engaging of all Nigerian leaders.
“He remains an unrivalled trailblazer, having established Nigeria’s first indigenous bank, African Continental Bank and Nigeria’s first indigenous university, University of Nigeria at Nsukka, among other monumental and far-sighted achievements,” the statement said.
The statement reiterated the call by the State Governor, Willie Obiano on the Federal Government, to declare November 16 a national holiday in memory of the Great Zik of Africa.
“After all,” argued Chief Obiano, “the Ghanaians observe the birthday of Dr Nkrumah as a national holiday, just the way Tanzanians observe President Julius Nyerere’s birthday as a national holiday.
“It is a huge national embarrassment that Nigeria has yet to declare November 16 a national holiday.”