Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has felicitated Nigerians on the country’s 63rd Independence Anniversary.
Atiku, the 2023 PDP presidential candidate, spoke in a statement on Saturday in Abuja by his media aide, Paul Ibe.
“Sixty-three years ago, when this great country acquired independence, it was upon the promise of abundant prosperity and the principle of social justice.
“As a nation, we have continued to struggle to manifest the dreams of our founding fathers in upholding the promises of shared prosperity and social justice.
“We have encountered great moments when the flag of our dear country flew tall on the global stage through the industry of our sportsmen and women, the prolific distinction of our academia and the top-notch artistry of Nigerian talents in the global music scene.
“The talents and doggedness of young Nigerians who have refused to give up on the country are the inspiration for a greater future that we celebrate today,” he said.
Atiku added: “The energy of the Nigerian youth is a formidable force in the consternation of manpower and skills that power the global economy. “
He said that across the globe and in various fields of human endeavour, Nigerians had proven to have the competence to rival any of their peers from any part of the world.
“That success – the gallantry of our youth – is the primal element of what we celebrate today as a nation.
“The challenge before us all is in ensuring that the political leadership in the country that we call home should be worthy of our pride as a people and not of telling embarrassment.
“Our democracy has triumphed so far due to the fidelity of our conviction that a democracy, when properly nurtured, should bring out the best in us and of us.
“As Nigerians, we are all not unfamiliar with the hardships in the economy, security, and other vital aspects of our society,” he said.
“While I enjoin us all to submit our strengths in faith to the Almighty God, we must be prepared to do our best to pull the country back from this point of uncertainty to a place of common safety.”
A new Nigeria still possible – Obi
In his message, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the February 25 general election, Peter Obi, urged Nigerians not to despair over the agonizing situation in the country after 63 years of nationhood, but to remain resolute and hopeful that a new Nigeria is still possible.
Mr Obi said in a statement by his media office on Saturday that the situation in the country might be critical, but certainly not hopeless.
He said the real reason Nigerians have remained visibly mired in poor governance and poverty after 63 years is that successive administrations through policy actions and inactions have attempted to suppress conscientious people so as to remain in power.
Mr Obi drew an analogy between a nation’s life and the parameters of modern technology; if the input is garbage in then the output will be garbage out, he said.
“When you Google a subject, the response you get will be based on the questions you input. Every nation invariably determines its own fate and destiny; and gets a leadership they deserve. Nigeria cannot be an exception. If we subscribe to rogue leadership, then we must face the attending consequences.
“At 63 years, what type of questions are Nigerians asking of their leaders and what type of answer are we expecting? If at 63 years we cannot conduct an election to allow the will of the people to prevail, what type of country do we expect?
“Every year on October 1st since 1960 we try to review our life as a nation but on looking back can we say that where we are is where we are supposed to be despite our vast human and natural resources? The answer is no.”
Present realities notwithstanding, Mr Obi is hopeful that a New Nigeria is possible but insists that the burden of responsibility is on Nigerians to take back their country from those he said are engaged in state capture.
While wishing Nigerians a happy independence anniversary, Mr Obi prayed for God’s continued mercy and grace on the nation.
Hope for better Nigeria – Akpabio
On his part, the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, congratulated Nigerians on the 63rd independence anniversary of the country.
In a statement on Saturday in Abuja by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Eseme Eyiboh, Mr Akpabio said in spite of the challenges the nation is facing, there is hope for a better tomorrow.
“In spite of challenges, there were many landmarks in the nation’s 63 years to give a sense of optimism for a better tomorrow.
“Each country has its unique path with unique challenges it must pass through,” he said.
He said that the fabrics of national cohesion were increasingly being braced by the unique Nigerian struggles.
Mr Akpabio said that he was confident that Nigeria was on the correct pathway to rediscovery.
“As we reminiscence on our 63 years as a country, it is tempting to allow present economic and security considerations becloud the triumphs of our nationhood.
“I dare say that in several fields of endeavour, the world has reckoned and continues to reckon with Nigeria in business, politics, sports and the arts.
“Indeed, I must today salute Nigerian music and showbiz stars who have almost through sheer grit and grace taken the world stage with a number of individual accomplishments.
“It is against this background that I call on Nigerians everywhere not to give up hope in the nation,” he said.
Mr Akpabio added: “I make this pledge on the occasion of our nation’s Independence Anniversary that the National Assembly under my leadership will continue to provide legislations and other parliamentary initiatives to push forward the Nigeria of our dreams.
“What I ask of every citizen is to do their part in the collaboration between government and the populace in making tomorrow a better Nigeria for all.
“I congratulate the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, GFCR on being the unique Nigerian with the unique opportunity of turning Nigeria towards the country of our dreams.
“On behalf of my colleagues in the National Assembly, I pledge to assist him within the limits of constitutional provisions in this drive.
“My congratulations also go to all my colleagues in the National Assembly and Nigerians as a whole on this unique anniversary.”
Challenges are surmountable – Jibrin
The Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin, urged Nigerians not to despair, saying that challenges facing the nation are surmountable, given the commitment of President Tinubu.
Mr Barau in his independence message by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ismail Mudashir, on Saturday, appealed to Nigerians to remain resolute in the promotion of national unity.
He called for support and prayers for the government to succeed in its efforts to turn around the country’s fortunes positively.
He reiterated the commitment of the president to the revival of the economy, tackling security and other challenges facing the country.
“Fellow Nigerians, happy Independence Day, as we celebrate the 63rd independence anniversary, the liberty from colonial rule, we must remember the enormous sacrifices made by our founding fathers, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, among others.
“We must recommit ourselves to the ideals they preached including the promotion of national unity, peace, justice, and tolerance.
“Yes, at 63, we have some challenges facing us as a country but they are surmountable, we will overcome them, our country will come out stronger of its present challenges, by God’s grace.
“Let’s continue to support President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to actualise his policies and programmes as encapsulated in the Renewed Hope Agenda.
“He has good intentions for the country, we will get it right,” he said.
Mr Jibrin also called on labour unions to shelve their planned strike over petrol subsidy removal, saying there were genuine moves by the government to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal.
He said the parliament would continue to work for good governance and support the executive with the necessary legislation to actualise its programmes and policies.
“On our part as assured by the President of the Senate, Sen.Godswill Akpabio, we will continue to support the executive to address the nation’s challenges.
“This is why we have been given accelerated consideration to the requests of the President, we will sustain the tempo to fast-track the development of our country,” he said.
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