Cross River State governor, Professor Ben Ayade, yesterday, lamented the state of slavery in which Nigeria had found herself after over five decades as a nation state.
Lamenting what he described as the country’s over dependence on imported goods, in an address to mark the country’s 55th Independence Anniversary at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, Governor Ayade said while Nigeria might have gained political independence, she had remained in a quagmire of economic slavery.
He said: “We have gained democratic independence, but today, we are still in economic slavery as long as we feed on imported food, live on foreign finished homes, clothe with imported garments, export our crude, import our refined petroleum products, import our medicines, weapons, tooth pick, singlet, socks and even under wears. As long as we still depend on their technology to communicate and travel, use their instruments to know what we have in the soil, water and how to get them out, we remain slaves. As far as our political leaders continue to seek medical attention in foreign lands, send their children overseas to study, steal and stash our money in foreign lands, then we are still slaves. Slave, to our mentality, slave to our inertia and slave to our colour.”
He noted that any political independence without economic independence is independence in paralysis.
The governor, who congratulated Nigerians on attaining 55 years as a nation state, said it represented a great milestone for the country, given the delicate strides it had made.
He said: “Today offers us another opportunity to celebrate our nation’s independence from her colonial masters. It is, therefore, with much delight and honour that I address you on this historic 55th anniversary celebration which represents a great milestone as a sovereign nation. As we reminisce on our undulating odyssey as a nation, we do so with mixed memories of the delicate strides we have made in the past 55 years. No nation has ever got to its destination on a roller coaster; and so, ours has not been an easy ride. But today’s anniversary marks another watershed as we continue to march ahead with great hope and a refreshing optimism with our eyes cast on a sparkling horizon that is a harbinger of lush.”
While paying tribute to the country’s fallen heroes, Governor Ayade reflected on the various obstacles the country has had to overcome, urging Nigerians to remain steadfast in building a stable and virile country.
Ayade said: “My good people of Cross River State, on a day such as this, we cannot but reflect on our pre-independence struggles and the indefatigable role played by our heroes past, culminating in our break away from the shackles of colonial domination. As we ruminate on our nation’s chequered political journey, the tall mountains we have had to climb, the steep valleys we have had to descend, I want to urge us to remain steadfast by re-committing and re-dedicating ourselves to the values and the vision that define us as a people. It is by so doing that we can achieve true independence for our people, one that will guarantee true freedom, good governance and total emancipation of our people in the real sense of it.”
He assured that his administration would not relent until it ensured that every Cross Riverian was free from the clutches of economic deprivations.
The governor noted that “we shall not relent until every Cross Riverian is indeed, free from the socio-economic manacles that have held us captive to hunger and want.
“My good people of Cross State, the sacrifices we make today will definitely translate into an enduring legacy for our collective future as a state.”
Governor Ayade, who solicited the collaboration of every Cross Riverian, in making the state an economic beacon for the rest of the country, pleaded: “Let us therefore continue to team together so that we can boldly face the future with renewed confidence and vigour.
The youths, and leaders of tomorrow, fear not, but you must depart from the ways that keep us dependent. For the young adults, and adults alike, we must reconstruct Nigeria and re-start with enthusiasm. Look no more to the east or to the west. Look unto God and self so as to create a New Nigeria that is truly independent both in spirit, politics and economy.”