Nigeria News
Leaders Task Nigerians on Unity, Commitment to Nation Building


As Nigeria celebrated her 54th independence anniversary with tight security throughout the country wednesday, some political leaders have tasked Nigerians to show more commitment to unity and nation building.

In their independence speeches yesterday, Governors Sullivan Chime of Enugu State, Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State and their Ebony, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States counterparts, Martin Elechi, Godswill Akpabio and Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi yesterday asked all Nigerians to see the independence anniversary as another unique opportunity to renew their faith in the nation, remember the historic past and to appraise the nationhood of the country.

Governor Chime, who was represented by the Commissioner for Education, Prof Chris Okoro, said Nigeria wouldn’t have recorded much development and progress but for the endurance of the people despite their conflicting individual and collective interests.

“This year’s celebration offers a unique opportunity to share and appraise our collective journey towards improving the lives of our citizens, as our nation pursues a more robust democracy capable of providing sustainable security and progress towards a more inclusive development of our people,” he said.

He also pointed out that  the anniversary should remind everybody that as a nation, all the people must collectively continue to fight for unity, progress and growth of the country, adding that “we cannot stand still or slip further backwards in developing our people and our economy.”

Chime urged all Nigerians to shun over-reliance on government and move towards helping government to solve the myriad of challenges confronting the country by supporting hard work, honesty, ingenuity, fairness, justice and promotion of excellence.

In his address yesterday, at the Police College, Ikeja, Fashola urged Nigerians to demonstrate greater commitment to the development of the country and be irrevocably committed to its peace and unity.

He said that the various challenges confronting the nation would be easily surmounted if her citizens would resolve to work for the country’s progress, as he also advised Nigerians to rekindle the spirit of national service and pride that were symbolic of the good old days of the nation’s history.

Fashola noted that the excitement that characterised past National Day celebrations had waned into mere ritual, saying that the good old days could be restored if Nigerians would change their attitudes.

“In some countries, national days are celebrated with fanfare. We should begin to celebrate the nation`s independence with the passion of the past. We should revive the old patriotic zeal,’’ he urged, while calling on Nigerians to believe in the Nigerian project.

Governor Elechi, in his address to the state, urged politicians to continually water the tree of unity of the country as the current social, economic and security challenges constitute threats to   national stability and cohesion.

He noted that since the country was at the threshold of another period of transition, it was expedient to hammer on the imperative of tolerance and accommodation for their growth and development.

“We may belong to different political parties or none at all, we may profess different religious beliefs, we may practice different cultural and social observances, but we must come to terms with the fact that we are a people with the same destiny,” the governor said.

Elechi urged the people to be vigilant and contribute to the stability and progress of the nation, inviting them also to keep the peace and continue to support the federal government under the stewardship of President Goodluck Jonathan.

Akpabio, who admitted that sustained military incursions in the country’s politics impeded meaningful development, said that the return of democratic governance 15 years ago has brought meaningful gains in all areas of development.

Speaking at the Uyo Sports Stadium, the Governor said, “There was massive infrastructural decay, dilapidated public utilities, growing unemployment, inflation, devalued currency, mismanaged economy, epileptic power supply, and eroded educational system amongst others.

He however, hinted that, “For over three decades, democracy which has been adjudged as a veritable vehicle for development had eluded our nation. But the return of democratic governance 15 years ago has brought forth meaningful gains in all areas of development. We have made reasonable strides and restored our nation to that of our founding fathers’ dream.”

He lauded the pace of transformation of the nation under President Goodluck Jonathan, which has given Nigerians the hope of realising the dream and vision of the founding fathers, saying that, “it has restored our hope in the labour of our heroes past and assured us that it will never be in vein. They laboured with faith and wisdom to build a nation founded on the immovable rock of peace, love, unity, faith and brotherhood.

He recapped that “today, we are gathered to celebrate the 54th anniversary of our nation. We are gathered not only to celebrate the victory won by our founding fathers but also to rebuild the foundation of nationhood instituted by our fore father. The founding fathers of our nation together in love and unity gained independence from the colonial masters and built a nation with equal opportunities for all Nigerians.

Amaechi however called for sober reflection on the state of the nation, saying , “as we prepare for the 2015 general election, may our politicians and their followers know that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.

“If we maim and kill the people we aspire to lead, whom would we govern? Let’s run our campaigns in the best manner and pursue our electioneering with respect one for another,” he admonished.

As part of activities marking the celebration of Nigeria’s 54th independence anniversary, Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano and his Sokoto State counterpart, Aliyu Wamakko also granted amnesty to prisoners in various prisons across their states.

Obiano’s decision to grant the 25 prisoners amnesty came on the heels of a call by a non-governmental organisation, “Umuigbo United Assembly,” to pursue a social order in which every man and woman should be able to attain recognition and positions through hard work and  merit in the country.

Obiano, who addressed the people of the state at the Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka, the Anambra State capital yesterday said the decision to release the prison inmates was predicated on the advice of the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Anali Chude.

While expressing hope in Nigeria’s continued existence as a great country despite challenges facing her at the moment, Obiano said that with the resilience shown by President Goodluck Jonathan in containing the threats posed by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, Nigerians should harbour no iota of doubt that terrorism in the country would be defeated in no distant time.

While speaking at the Sokoto Central Prison wednesday, Governor Wamakko said the amnesty on the nine prisoners was in commemoration of the nation’s independence celebration.

He said the convicts were granted unconditional pardon in the exercise of the power vested on him under section 212 of the 1999 constitution.

Wamakko, who was represented by the state Commissioner of Justice, Alhaji Nuhu Adamu, urged the pardoned inmates to be of good behaviour and keep away from crime.

“You should contribute your quota to the progress of the society and avoid engaging in unlawful activities that may lead to your return to this prison,”Wamakko advised.

The governor to this end, gave N30,000 each to the nine pardoned inmates to set up a small-scale business, as he urged them to utilise the stipend given to them to better their lot in life.

…Kwara Marks Anniversary Amid Tight Security
The people of Kwara State wednesday joined their counterparts across the country to celebrate the 54th independence anniversary with tight security in response to the security problem in the country.

Speaking shortly after reviewing the parade at the Kwara State Metropolitan Square, Ilorin, the state capital, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, who was represented by his deputy, Peter Kishira, said the country has attained a memorable height that calls for celebrations.

He said the government at the national level has been doing a lot in ensuring that development spreads across the nook and cranny of the country.

He noted that the government is doing all that it can to contain and bring to an end the current wave of Boko Haram insurgency in the country, as he urged Nigerians to continue to support government at all levels for better growth and development.

Body Tasks Nigerians on Good Citizenship
A pro-democracy non-profit organisation, Democrats for Good Governance (DGG), has challenged Nigerians to live up to their civic responsibilities by being good citizens of the country.

President of the group, Mr. Emmanuel Uche, who gave the charge during an Independence Day chat with journalists in Abuja, made a case for increased citizens’ demand for transparency in political and governance process.
He however challenged the country’s leadership on good governance and selfless service, describing them as key to the Nigeria of our dream.

“The surest way to building confidence in the people is by showing credible leadership and good governance. The government of this country must take deliberate steps to restore the people’s confidence in government,” Uche said.

Nigeria’ s Held Captive By Her Leaders, Says CAN
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Borno Chapter, wednesday asked political and religious leaders in the country to re-examine themselves and live in the fear of God, insisting that the nation was held captive by the leaders.

The message was delivered by Bishop Naga Mohammed at the October 1 Unity Prayer organised by the association to commemorate the nation’s 54th independence anniversary.

CAN said God has freed Nigeria and Nigerians from the clutches of under development, corruption and endemic poverty, but the nation’s leaders have repeatedly held the country in captivity.

Bishop Mohammed in the message titled: “Thus Far Has the Lord Helped Us,” said, “God has given us freedom but the devil is usually out to snatch it from us through our act, especially by most of our leaders. Nigeria got independence from the British colonial masters but we are not free from poverty and many others problems.”

PDP Urges Nigerians to Embrace Peace, Unity
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wednesday called on Nigerians to embrace peace and unity as the country marks its 54th independence anniversary.

The party`s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Olisa Metuh, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said, “In this present time of security challenges, the PDP has dedicated this year’s anniversary to peace and unity.

“We expect all Nigerians to embrace peace, unity and progress so that the country will make remarkable progress,’’ he said.
Metuh, however, said the PDP was the only party in the country that had sustained democracy in its history.

Ashafa Prays for Nigeria at 54
The Vice-Chairman of Senate Committee on Lands and Housing, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, enjoined all Nigerians to live together in peace and unity for the progress of the nation at large.

Speaking on the country’s independence anniversary, he said, “Our journey so far clearly demonstrates how our values and cultures have merged to produce progress that benefits us all. In the future, I want us to look forward to an even more dynamic nation that will evolve in a manner that reflects and amplifies the strength and dignity of Nigerians.

“As we strive to sustain our commitment to democratic values, it is my fervent prayer that our institutions will continue to work hard to strengthen the bond of unity amongst us all,” he said.

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