By Victor Ahiuma-Young, Vincent Ujumadu, Inalegwu Shaibu, Olasunkanmi Akoni & Gbenga Akanmu
ABUJA—NIGERIANS, in unison, yesterday, said that despite being plagued by numerous political, religious and economic crises, the unity that was evident in the country in the past 50 years was worth celebrating.
Senate President, Senator David Mark, state governors, religious leaders and the labour movement, all agreed that the future of the nation was bright.
Senator Mark in a good will message to the nation on the occasion of 50th independence anniversary signed by his Press Secretary, Mr. Paul Mumeh, lauded the resoluteness and patriotism of Nigerians, which he said, was the reason the country had remained a single, united and sovereign nation.
He said the nation’s future was bright given the attitude and love of Nigerians for their motherland, adding that it has been a journey where the positives certainly outweighed the negatives.
Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, said: “Nigeria holds a great dream for all of us, and we should endeavour to build on contributions of our founding fathers. When the leadership as well as followership, each compelled by love of country discharges its responsibility to the State, Nigeria will take its pride of place among the comity of nations.
“Notwithstanding the problems of nation_building which we may be grappling with at the moment, the Nigerian spirit is alive and kicking and should continue to be nourished as the vehicle of our national journey.”
Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State said: “I want to pay special tributes to all our past leaders for all the sacrifices they made to lay a solid foundation upon which those who succeeded them pursued and worked vigorously for the actualisation of their dreams and the good vision they had for us.
The fact that Nigeria despite all the teething challenges that befell her few years after Independence was able to remain united and still forge ahead as one indivisble country shows that indeed the labours of these our past heroes were not in vain”.
Bishop George Amu, Christian Association of Nigeria, Lagos branch secretary, noted that the nation had indeed been freed from bondage and called on Nigerians to go out and register enmasse so that they could vote at the coming election.
He added: “Christians should go out and register and we believe in Option A4 which is the freest means of electing leaders.”
Special Assistant on Religious Matters to the Lagos State Governor, Rev. Akintoye Braimoh, lamented that the nation got it wrong in the first instance by choosing the wrong leaders to rule them.
Politics not a dirty game—Braimoh
Braimoh stated: “We have been ruled for a long time by the military, we are moving forward and we will get there. Politics is not a dirty game; Christians should come out and vie for offices.
Go out and register and ensure that you keep your card because it is your power. We have a greater tomorrow, this is our jubilee, we are now liberated and things will get better for the nation.”
Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, said that Nigeria must solve the basic challenges of electricity, transportation and education in order to develop the country.
He said that these challenges can be solved, noting that selfish interest and greed on the part of those in positions of authority created the present problems.
Ikuforiji called for a reorientation of Nigerians and challenged the youth to do away with actions inimical to the development of the country and chart a new path that would lead to greatness of the country.
Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, called on Nigerians to use 2011 general elections to begin the journey to rediscover or reinvent Nigeria as a nation that would be the pride of not just Nigerians but of the entire Black race.
NLC in a message titled “Golden jubilee: moment for a new beginning,” signed by its President, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, said although the state of the nation and the condition of Nigerians was anything but golden, Congress acknowledged that with great sense of responsibility the sacrifices and services of workers under very stressful and unstable political, economic and social conditions all these years.
The statement said: “While it is generally agreed, both within and outside the country, that the past 50 years of our existence have been marked by irresponsible and profligate leadership, we do not wish to use this occasion to once again agonize about our wasted opportunities and prospects.
Rather we wish to place emphasis on the fact that all hope is not lost if we use this moment correctly to evaluate our potentials and take decisive steps which nations seen today as great have treaded to become what they are.”