All government ministries, departments and agencies, banks and other financial institutions in Anambra State did not open this Monday. It was in response to the announcement by the state government, last week, that the day would be observed as a public holiday in memory of Nigeria’s first president Rt. Hon Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.

The great Zik was born on November 16, 1904, and he died on May 11, 1996.

His birth anniversary this year fell on a Saturday, and Anambra governor Willie Obiano declared Monday a public holiday.

The holiday brought to a close an organized effort to celebrate the life and times of the foremost nationalist and statesman which began with a lecture at the weekend.

Governor Obiano has made repeated calls for the Federal Government of Nigeria to set aside a national public holiday in honour of the great Zik of Africa who, as one of the founding fathers, played a historic role in Nigeria’s struggle for independence.

“With the strict compliance to the announcement made by Anambra State Government to the citizens last week to observe today as a public holiday in honour of Zik, it is expected that the Federal Government would give a serious consideration to the calls for a national day in honour of the illustrious founding father,” Governor Obiano’s chief press secretary James Eze said in a statement.

Other Nigerians have made similar requests.

Zik’s mausoleum at his Onitsha home was completed only last year, even though the contract for its construction at his grave site was first awarded in 1996, the year of his death and burial. He was buried on November 16, 1996.

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