Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 1 October 2018 | 1,698 times
Senate President and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Aspirant, Bukola Saraki; Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State; and former Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, on Sunday congratulated Nigerians on the occasion of the nation’s 58th Independence Anniversary.
Saraki in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, urged Nigerians to ensure a more vibrant, constructive and patriotic citizen participation in the governance of the country.
He noted that one of the key reasons for the non-realization of the dreams of the founding fathers who fought for the nation's independence from the colonial government was because the citizens failed to seize control of the fortunes and future of the country while allowing sentiments to determine the choice of leaders and what national objectives should entail.
“At this point when democracy has come to stay in Nigeria, all Nigerians should use the occasion of the 58th Independence Anniversary to redefine what should constitute the Nigerian dream, rally round that dream, support leaders who are capable and competent to realise that dream.
“Citizens should stop abandoning politics and political choices to politicians and manipulative elements who invoke only religious, ethnic and geo-political sentiments to impose leadership who are only supported for the purpose of serving the interests of those who put them in office.
“Nigerians should re-dedicate themselves to the ideals of defining their personal interests in line with how it helps the realization of national objectives. Our national objectives should simply be to build a united, peaceful, economically strong, internationally respected country, with robust military, well-motivated work-force, ambitious youth and fulfilled citizens.
“These ideals are what we should rally our people around. The people should not allow government officials and politicians to continue manipulating them in pursuit of narrow interests. It is only manipulation that will allow voters to ignore the competence, experience, suitability and temperament of aspirants for public office and rather focus on where he comes from, how he worships his God and how much he is ready to dole out.
“Today, as we celebrate our 58th Independence Anniversary, Nigerians should vow that the leader who will lead the country when it is celebrating its Diamond jubilee anniversary must be one who would have set this country on the path of genuine socio-economic development and political greatness.
“Our people should stop being complacent. The best amongst us should be the one leading the rest. Voters should be ready at all times to intervene when government is derailing from the national objectives or placing personal or group interest above national interest. Never again, must we allow leaders who behave as emperors, maximum rulers or messiahs and cabals created by them to seize control of government and its machinery.
“With a vigilant citizenry that is well informed and involved in monitoring government activities, officials and programmes, the prospect of good governance and improved standard of living for all Nigerians is bright and guaranteed.
“At this point, let me congratulate all Nigerians on the occasion of this year’s independence anniversary and pray that our country will continue to exist in peace, with unity among the various groups and continuous development of the various parts. Happy anniversary, Nigerians,” Saraki stated.
Governor Okowa, on his part, charged Nigerians to work against acts capable of truncating the nation’s democracy.
In a statement in Asaba by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, Governor Okowa admonished Nigerians to be proud of their country and work in unison irrespective of political, religious and ethnic diversities to ensure the continued corporate existence of the country.
The statement reads: “On behalf of Government and the people of Delta State, I congratulate Nigerians on the occasion of the 2018 Independence Day celebration on October 1, 2018. Our people have enjoyed democracy since 1999 and appreciate better, the inherent gains of democracy, as respect for human rights and the rule of law. In order to protect this hard-earned democracy, we must work harmoniously to improve on our electoral system.”
The Governor urged Nigerians to continue to work together in unity so as to surmount the challenges threatening to destabilise the democratic experience and undo the gains achieved in the past 19 years.
“We should be proud to be Nigerians because God in His infinite wisdom did not make a mistake in His decision to make us Nigerians,” Okowa said, adding, it is a day to celebrate our glorious state and great nation, and to pay tribute to our countrymen and women who sacrificed so that we can celebrate this day; we should never forget the sacrifices of our heroes past,” he said.
The Governor observed that at 58, the journey has not been easy for the country, as she has witnessed economic and political setbacks; bloodletting largely due to misguided religious extremists. He assured all residents of the state that the government would continue to develop solutions to address challenges in all sectors of the economy.
He commended Deltans, especially the oil producing communities, for giving peace a chance which has culminated in uninterrupted oil production in the region.
“Despite the challenges we are facing as a nation, we must remain resolute to keep alive the dreams of our founding fathers,” the governor said.
In his own message, Obi, who noted that Nigeria as an independent country is now fifty-eight years, said she ought to have been, by now, truly independent both politically and economically but lamented that the contrary is the case. He, therefore, submitted that Nigeria is not worthy to celebrate her independence dancing and making merry, but should rather take the opportunity to reflect on her development.
He described as sad, a situation where Nigeria is lagging behind in all indices of development and called on Nigerians to take the opportunity and think positively about their country and how to set her on her feet again
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