By Ben Agande
Abuja—President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, said his government cannot afford to fail the huge expectations of Nigerians, who expect it to lead the country to greater heights.
In a keynote address at the public presentation of a book, ‘Nigerian Century’ written by Dare Babarinsa at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, President Buhari said with the proper harnessing of abundant human and natural resources in the country, it would attain its greatness.
The President, who was represented by former governor of Ekiti State and deputy chairman of All Progressives Congress in the South, Segun Oni, noted that only a Nigeria could have given meaning to the indomitable spirit, boundless energy, collective creativity, cultural diversity and unique sense of enterprise of Nigerians.
He said: “Yes, our land is blessed by providence with riches in oil and gas, iron ore, gold, limestone and almost all the minerals of this earth.
“Our soil can grow almost any crop and our vegetation supports animal life as varied as creation can manifest. Our rivers and coast lines are rich with fishes and various kinds of life. Yet, despite these bounties from nature, I have no doubt that the greatest blessings of Nigeria are the people of Nigeria, the wonderful people that give expression to the grandeur and majesty of our beloved country.”
President Buhari recalled that though Nigeria was born in adversity, nurtured to adolescence in the turbulence of the colonial period and its majesty was forged in the furnace of hard experience of the post-colonial era, the country had been able to overcome its challenges to emerge as the biggest economy in Africa.
He said: “Today, our country has the fastest growing economy in Africa and one of the fastest in the world. Our dominance is not so much because of our wealth, but because of the tremendous energy and resourcefulness of our people.
“How many countries of the world can parade the likes of Professor Wole Soyinka, Jay Jay Okocha, King Sunny Ade and Alhaji Aliko Dangote literally under the same roof?”
Pays tribute to pre-independence leaders
While paying tribute to the nation’s pre-independence leaders, the President equally hailed former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan for nurturing the country’s democracy for the past 16 years.
He said: “We are in debt to the founding fathers of our Republic, Herbert Macaulay, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and many other heroes of the anti-colonial struggle.
“They hoisted for us the banner of freedom that we are still enjoying till today. As President, the experience of each of my predecessors as Chief of State has provided a guiding map for us in moments of hard decisions and when we have to embrace the loneliness of power.
‘’The 12 men: Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa, General J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi, General Yakubu Gowon, General Murtala Muhammed, General Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shagari, General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan, General Sani Abacha, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Mallam Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, each had the unique experience of modulating and moderating the sometimes turbulent temper of our great country.”
In his remarks, former President Obasanjo, who was represented by Prince Julius Adelusi Adeluyi, enjoined all Nigerians to contribute to the greatness of the country.
According to Obasanjo, “as long as Nigeria has life, we should give it hope; we should all resolve to heal Nigeria.”
The chief presenter of the book, former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the All Progressive Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, called on the Nigerian government to discourage the teaching of foreign history in Nigerian schools, noting that Nigerian children must be taught the history of their nation.
He said the 500-page book was a compendium bigger than 419 and Boko Haram.
The book was reviewed by publisher of Ovation, Dele Momodu.