By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA- The federal government has vowed to pursue a prosperous and just Nigeria and never allow our checkered history to determine our future.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo made the pledge Tuesday, while declaring open, the Photo Exhibition to mark the 2018 Independence held in Abuja.
Osinbajo, who described our history as the beginning of great Nigerian story noted that our history is the least that we can ever be.
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He insisted that our future holds much more and is a precursor to a prosperous, united and where all of us are treated fairly and justly.
‘‘I am pleased to say on behalf of the Nigerian government and people that we have chosen to say that our history will not determine our future; our history is the least that we can ever be; our future is much greater; our history is only a precursor to a greater Nigeria; to a Nigeria that is prosperous, united and where all of us are treated fairly and justly.
‘‘Our history is only the beginning of that great Nigerian story that all of these people who have won awards represent; that they are going to be better than those of us who sit here today, these young people represent that history and pride that our nation represent.’’.
The Vice President, who commended the ministry of Information and Culture for the innovation justified the exhibition under three reasons.
‘‘There are three reasons at least why this historical excursion is important. The first is that it helps us to recognize the incredible leadership of our political leaders, from the colonial days till the moment. All of these incredible leaders – men and women who have shown such great wisdom and wit at various times; such dedication and courage at various times; this exhibition celebrates them.
‘‘The second is that we are reminded of the twists and turns of our history. The colonial phase, the independence, the first republic, the political crisis, the coups and countercoups, the civil war, the short restoration of civil rule and another military incursion and then civil rule since 1999.
‘‘Each phase has tested our resolve to remain united, to maintain the integrity of the country known as Nigeria. Each phase has tested the commitment of our leaders to the Nigerian project; it has tested their ingenuity and their wisdom in navigating the frequently tortuous and turbulent waters of our national story.
‘‘With the benefit of hindsight, I think that it is evident that at every turn we clearly saw strength of the Nigerian resolve to build a nation and the valiant attempts of the leadership at state building.
‘‘We have not always excelled or have not always done as well as we should. But that is not the story. The story is that we have never lacked the courage and will to keep trying, and to do so with greater resolve and greater commitment.
‘‘The third reason for the importance of this historical excursion is perhaps the most important. How we approach history. History could be a crutch; it could be an excuse for not doing as well as we could, or a strong shoulder to stand on. It could be a tyrant reminding us of how we got it wrong; or it could be a reminder that our future is greater than our history,’’ he added.
Earlier, the minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed said the day was special to every Nigerian as it was a day to reflect on our unity, patriotism and commitment to nation building.
‘‘Over the years, the country has gone through trials and tribulations, but the 1st of October is always a day for celebration and thanksgiving, because it occupies a very important place of pride in the political history of our country. It also serves as a poignant reminder and appreciation of the “Labours of our heroes past”.
‘‘For those who were not old enough to have witnessed Nigeria’s Independence in 1960, they can at least look at the pictures of pre-independent Nigeria and the handing-over ceremony of the colonial masters to the Nigerian leaders to have an idea of how things were and the hopes for a bright future ahead.’
He encouraged participants, especially the youth, to spend time to view and savour this significant and historical exhibition
The exhibition showcased Nigeria’s political history from pre-colonial era till date, as well as Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage.
Highlight of the event was presentation of plague to award winners. They include: John Chinyere of Federal Government Boys College, Gudu; Eunice Shagu, Stella Maris College, Garki; and Vincent Davies of the Model Secondary School, Maitama.
The event marked the commemoration of Nigeria’s 58th Independence anniversary celebration with the theme: ”The Footprints of Nigeria’s Political Leaders.’’