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May 29: What Nigerians and Americans share in common

Nigeria and America are two nations that have enjoyed a cordial relationship for years. America is home to estimated millions of Nigerians. A sizeable number of Americans also earn their livelihoods in Nigeria as expatriates, especially in the oil and gas sector.
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May 29 was initially the official democracy day in Nigeria, marking when the newly elected Olusegun Obasanjo took office as the President of Nigeria in 1999. This ended multiple decades of military rule that began in 1966 and had been interrupted only by a brief period of democracy from 1979 to 1983.

On June 6, 2018, eight days after May 29, 2018, had been celebrated as Democracy Day, the President Buhari-led Federal Government of Nigeria declared June 12 to be the new Democracy Day. Buhari gave his inaugural address for his second term on June 12, 2019.

These were done to commemorate the democratic election of MKO Abiola on June 12, 1993, in what has been adjudged to be Nigeria’s freest and fairest elections. It was, however, wrongly cancelled by the Ibrahim Babangida Junta. MKO Abiola was later detained after he rightfully declared himself the president. Chief MKO Abiola died mysteriously after drinking tea during the negotiation of his release. He started coughing in the presence of Kofi Annan and later died in the hospital. MKO promised the restoration of good governance in Nigeria.

May 29: Nigerians and Americans observe public holiday

Nigeria and America are two nations that have enjoyed a cordial relationship for years. America is home to estimated millions of Nigerians. A sizeable number of Americans also earn their livelihoods in Nigeria as expatriates, especially in the oil and gas sector. These two countries will on Monday, May 29 observe public holidays. Nigeria’s holiday is unconnected with the inauguration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President. Already, President Joe Biden has announced his delegation to Tinubu’s inauguration. The delegation will be led by Marcia Fudge, Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. A statement from the White House on Monday lists other members of the delegation as Mr. David Greene, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., U.S. Embassy Abuja, Sydney Kamlager-Dove, United States Representative (D), California, Marisa Lago, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, U.S. Department of Commerce, General Michael E. Langley, Commander of U.S. Africa Command, Enoh T. Ebong, Director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, Mary Catherine Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Judd Devermont, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs, National Security Council and Monde Muyangwa, Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development.

Fudge said she is honoured to lead President Joe Biden’s delegation to the inauguration ceremony of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as Nigeria’s president. Fudge heads a nine-member delegation to attend the May 29 inauguration.

In a tweet on Wednesday, she said: “I am honored to lead the presidential delegation to Nigeria to attend the inauguration of His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu.” The Monday holiday in America is called the Memorial Day. On Friday, Biden signed the proclamation on prayer for peace. “On Memorial Day, we honor America’s beloved daughters and sons who gave their last full measure of devotion to this Nation. We can never fully repay the debt we owe these fallen heroes. But today, we vow to rededicate ourselves to the work for which they gave their lives, and we recommit to supporting the families, caregivers, and survivors they left behind,” Biden said in the proclamation.

He added that for generations, its courageous people fought for its Independence. “They defended our democracy. They sacrificed for our freedom. And today, as they lie in eternal peace, we continue to live by the light of liberty that they so bravely kept burning bright around the world. This is always a day where pain and pride are mixed together. To all those who are mourning the loss of a service member — including America’s Gold Star Families — we see you and grieve with you. And we know that on this day especially, the pain of their absence can feel overwhelming. But for so many of you, that pain is wrapped around the knowledge that your loved one was part of something bigger than any of us; that they chose a life of mission and purpose; and that they dared all, risked all, and gave all to preserve and defend an idea unlike any other in human history: the United States of America.

“These brave service members are not only the heart and soul of our country — they are the very spine. Today — and every day — we remember their service and ultimate sacrifice to our Nation. We reflect on our sacred and enduring vow to care for their families. And together, as we pause and pray, we pledge to continue defending freedom and democracy in their honor. May God bless our fallen heroes, and may God protect our troops.”

Biden said in honour and recognition of all of the fallen service members, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 11, 1950, as amended (36 U.S.C. 116), requested that “the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer and reflection”.

The Congress designated 3p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance.

Biden said: “I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time when people might unite in prayer and reflection. I urge the press, radio, television, and all other information media to cooperate in this observance. I further ask all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day.

“I request the Governors of the United States and its Commonwealths and Territories, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control. I encourage families, friends, and neighbors to post tributes to our fallen service members through the Veterans Legacy Memorial at so that we may learn more about the lives and contributions of those buried in National, State, and Tribal veteran cemeteries. I also request the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.” So, while Nigerians home and abroad will be glued to the television and internet on Monday to get firsthand details of the new dawn, Americans will be remembering the men and women who died for their country to be the super power it is.

Is May 29 Democracy Day?

Democracy Day is June 12, a national public holiday in Nigeria. Until June 6, 2018,it was held annually on May 29.Democracy Day marks the day the military handed over power to an elected civilian government in 1999, marking the beginning of the longest continuous civilian rule since Nigeria’s independence from colonial rule in 1960. It is a tradition that has been held annually, beginning in year 2000. June 12 was formerly known as Abiola Day, celebrated in Lagos, Nigeria and some south western states of Nigeria.

Today in the United States is called Memorial Day: What you need to know.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the US that is observed on the last Monday of the month of May every year. The occasion is aimed at honouring and mourning the loss of the US military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday through an act of Congress in 1971. Notably, Memorial Day in the US was observed on May 30 between 1868 to 1970. Historically, Memorial Day can be traced back to the Civil War era in the US. However, it was declared a national holiday through an act of Congress in 1971. The occasion is meant to establish a way to set aside some time to honour the troops who had given their lives in service to America.

What will remain closed?

All US government offices will be closed on Memorial Day on the occasion of Memorial Day. Most US Banks will be closed on the occasion of Memorial Day while ATMs and mobile banking services are expected to work normally. US Postal Services and other major courier services like FedEx and UPS will remain closed on May 29. US Stock Market indices Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange will be closed on May 29 on the occasion of Memorial Day.

What will remain open on Memorial Day?
: Most restaurants in the US including Starbucks, McDonald’s and Chipotle will remain open on May 29. Retail stores: Most retail stores in the US including IKEA, Best Buy and Belk will remain open on May 29.

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