Work-free Day for Zik: Emulate Obiano, Lawyer Urges Ugwuanyi

* Ezenwoye seeks more gratitude from Nsukka people

An Nsukka-based lawyer, Mr B. Ezenwoye, has called on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State to emulate his Anambra State counterpart, Willie Obiano, by declaring November 16 of every year a work-free day in the state in honour of the founding father of modern Nigeria, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe. Barrister Ezenwoye has also called on the people of Nsukka senatorial zone to find ways of paying more gratitude to the late Zik of Africa for gifting Nsukka as the host of the country’s first indigenous university, the University of Nigeria.

Dr. Azikiwe, who was born on November 16, 1904, in Zungeru (in present-day Niger State), made Nsukka his home from 1945 until his death on May 11, 1996.

In a statement made available to journalists, the lawyer stressed that Zik deserves a work-free day in Enugu State as well as more gratitude from the people of Nsukka, noting that he felt a pang of shame as a citizen of Nsukka that enough is not being done to appreciate Zik even when it is clear that Nsukka is the greatest beneficiary of Zik’s benevolence.

He said he has been forced to react to a piece posted online by someone decrying the attitude of Nsukka people — they have not shown enough gratitude to a man who brought them to global recognition by siting the first indigenous university at their place.

“I was also moved to issue this statement by the fact that Anambra State, which officially benefited very little from the great Zik by way of projects and infrastructure, was the first state to give him a befitting remembrance in the form of a public holiday, while Enugu State that benefited more from him is yet to do so,” Ezenwoye added.

The lawyer said that he was making a plea to Governor Ugwuanyi “who by his actions is a Zikist” to follow in the footsteps of his Anambra counterpart to declare November 16 a public holiday. Ugwuanyi being an Nsukka man would have atoned for the many years of ingratitude shown by Nsukka people to the late Owelle of Onitsha who placed them in the global limelight, he said.

Ezenwoye noted: “The entire Nsukka cultural zone, including Isi-Uzo LGA, would be grateful if Governor Ugwuanyi could, on their behalf, bring down this heavy load of years of ingratitude by declaring November 16 a public holiday in Enugu State. After all, three locations were chosen for the university to be sited but Zik chose Nsukka, a place described by some members of the Eastern Nigeria parliament as a dark corner of the earth befitting only monkeys and their likes.

“If Ugwuanyi follows Obiano’s steps, other southeast governors likely will, and then Nigeria at large will likely honour Zik with a work-free day. The southwest states of Nigeria declared June 12 as a public holiday in honour of the late MKO Abiola before the federal government adopted same as public holiday for democracy. If Ugwuanyi follows, other Igbo states may eventually declare a public holiday for Zik as the pathfinder of our freedom and independence as a nation.”

Reported by THEO RAYS

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