Nigeria will clock 52 years as an independent nation tomorrow, amidst an atmosphere of gloom being experienced by citizens.
But what has not been in short supply are exhortations by political leaders urging the people not to despair but to re-energise themselves in the task of building the nation.
In Lagos, the national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria,Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu urged Nigerians to seize the 52nd independence anniversary to refocus on their country and rededicate themselves to its development.
In a special release to mark the event, the former governor of Lagos State noted, “Nigeria, our dear country, could be passing through a very difficult time now. But these are not problems we cannot collectively solve, if we all put our minds to them.”
Asiwaju Tinubu said one of the burning challenges was that of a constitution to make Nigeria a true federation and correct all the structural imbalances that have resulted in mutual distrust and slowed down economic growth and prosperity.
Tinubu called for the strengthening of our various institutions to serve the interests of the citizenry and not personal political interests.
”The sustenance of our democracy is important. The can do spirit of Nigerians must be harnessed. Parochial sectional interests must be dislodged. And we must work collectively for peace and stability of the nation. At the age of 50, a person is expected to have matured and developed into something greater. But a nation that is a continuum should have made concrete and critical steps towards the progress and happiness of its citizenry and not just be contented with business as usual that has left a vast majority of our people in a state of hopelessness.”
In Abeokuta, Governor Ibikunle Amosun has called for a result oriented synergy between the leaders and the followers in order to make the country move
forward in the next half of the century.
Amosun made the call this afternoon in an interview with newsmen at the Special church service to mark the 52nd independence day anniversary in Abeokuta,Ogun
state,southwest, Nigeria. He absolved the country leaders of total responsibility for the country’s woe at 52.
The governor while responding to a question on the challenge ahead of him being among the present crop of leaders in the country,said while
he would partially agree with the submission that leaders in the country had been responsible for the situation we found ourselves as a
nation today, he said,”the followers too should be part of the blame.That is why there is this need for a result oriented and positive synergy
between the leaders and the followers for us to get over the woes”.
“Yes,it is true that leadership has a role to pay in confronting the challenge we are facing now,the country ought to have grown beyond this level we found ourselves.The type of our leaders will ultimately determine the road to our progress,but that notwithstanding the followers’ angle is also very important and you must believe that both the leaders and the led have roles to play to ensure steady development and progress as two factors cannot be undermined”,Amosun
The governor said that there was no way the country could move forward,”in an atmosphere of rancour and believe you me,we have
come a long way all the years that we should celebrate,I believe we can still do more,we will improve.The challenge we are having today will soon be a thing of the past.I just wish our people will explore peaceful means”.
Governor Amosun in his independence message at the church service held at the Cathedral Church,Ake,Abeokuta called for
amicable settlement of the socio-political crises in the country,declaring that violence and religious upheavals cannot solve
the problem.According to the governor,”when we look at the holy books,none of it preaches violence,so we must exploit the books to our advantage to overcome this problem”,he advised.
Governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Raji Fashola in his own message said the time has come for the nation to reclaim her pre-eminent status in Africa given the reality that the Continent has become the next frontier of world development.
Governor Fashola, who fielded questions on the state of the nation from newsmen after the Special Friday Jumat Service to commemorate the nation’s 52nd Independence Anniversary, said in the context of the African Continent being the next investment destination of the world, Nigeria should rise and take the lead in reaping the economic benefits of that reality.
“The rhetoric on Africa has changed. Ten years ago, I think it was an international Magazine which published the screaming headline “Africa, a hopeless Continent”. But today, that rhetoric has changed. The Magazine has eaten its words and people of the nations across the world have said Africa is the next frontier”, the Governor said.
Noting that Africa is now experiencing six to seven percent annual growth on a sustainable basis while countries such as Ethiopia and Somalia are now experiencing development and holding elections, Governor Fashola declared, “In that context, where do we lie. That is why I started with Africa; we must reclaim our pre-eminent status”.
The Governor, however, said this would not happen “if, as a people, we continue to put ourselves down” adding, “Those who condemned us 10 years ago have said we are the new frontier. Must we continue as a people to put ourselves down?”.
Governor Fashola expressed delight that in the last 48 hours, Nigerians have been asking very honest questions as to whether we, as a people, are the problem or the nation itself. He added, “Even the sermon today is a call to nationalism, a call to patriotism. Let us see our challenges as building blocks for greatness”.
“This is not the worst place to live on earth and I can tell you that. Let us take the financial issues for instance, the Spanish government raised its taxes by 52 percent, Italy has raised its tax by 60 percent. Italians are leaving their country. That is not our position here. People are being struck by earthquakes, Tsunami, but we have arable land for farming here. There are challenges here alright but they should be seen as building blocks for us to aspire to greater things”, the Governor said.
The Governor called on Nigerians to be sober, humble and listen more to those they have entrusted with authority adding that if those in authority fail to perform, Nigerians have the chance to throw them out during the next election.
“But we must end strikes. Breaking up the productive system only takes us back. The people we are chasing are ahead; the Chinese, the Indians, the Americans, they do not strike as often as we do. We are already behind, we need to double up on our work really; if they are working seven days a week, we should work eight days a week, if they are working 14 hours a day, we should work 24 hours a day, and we would not even catch up in ten years. So, that is the work that lies ahead and which we must do”, the Governor said.
Wishing Nigeria a happy anniversary and Nigerians a brighter rewarding future, Governor Fashola declared, “The Leadership, of course owes the responsibility to continue to rally round the people, restrain themselves from those actions and statements that divide us and do more and say more of those things that bring us together as a nation”.