James Ogunnaike – Abeokuta
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun on Saturday called on Nigerians to join hands together and build bridges of national unity and oneness of the country, rather that demolish fences.
Governor Abiodun, who made the call in his remarks at the MKO Abiola International Stadium, Kuto, Abeokuta at a ceremony to mark the 2021 June 12 Democracy Day, said, as Nigerians, it is better to live in unity for the development and emancipation of the country.
According to the governor, “the best way to immortalize and celebrate MKO Abiola and June 12, particularly, at this time of our national life, is to build bridges and demolish fences”.
He added, ” we should think Nigerian and not sectarian. We should not limit that mandate and success to 1993. We must ensure that the hope is kept alive. We cannot afford to bring down our country or show despair in our future. Truly, Nigeria shall rise again”.
“We are only consoled by the re-introduction of democracy in 1999 and the fact the nation has enjoyed the longest and uninterrupted democratic experience since then. However, we must also acknowledge that, like every human endeavour and system, our democracy is not perfect. Our democracy is still a work in progress”.
“In truth, the essence of democracy is good governance. In truth, the people have a right to the agitation for a better life. In truth, also, we can achieve more together rather than the clamour for division of the country and separation of the constituent parts”.
“MKO Abiola and his mandate should serve as a reminder to all of us that we are stronger together as a nation. He broke all barriers such as religion and ethnicity that are being used in Nigeria today to divide us. He won across the length and breadth of this country, even at the backyard of his main opponents. It was a phenomenon that should remind us that we are greater than our challenges”.
“Unless and until we embrace the essence of the MKO persona, internalize belief in self, faith in a united country and other initiatives that help to engender a sense of shared heritage amongst Nigerian people, we will continue to be a country in search of nationhood.
“Let us push all the negative and divisive forces and policies on the back-foot and embrace the symbolism of June 12. Let us join hands to make Nigeria work for all Nigerians. This will end all quest for self-determination and other sectarian agitations and calm frayed nerves. June 12 represents what will strengthen the country’s unity, indivisibility and oneness”, Governor Abiodun sai0p.
“We must not forget that, as individuals, we can also change the course of history, like MKO did, even at this point in time. We must all note that each and every one of us, our actions and inactions, will either propel the country forward or fuel the already tensed situation. Our country should rise and fulfill its full potentials in the comity of nations”.
“As we celebrate June 12, we must also not forget to pay tributes to the heroes of the struggle for the actualization of June 12 after the annulment of that election. Nigerians came out en masse to protest a dashed hope. Many suffered degrees of deprivation, incarceration and some even paid the supreme price”.
“Some may wonder why we take so much interest in the unity of Nigeria. With the contributions of our heroes past in Ogun State and some of them still living, perhaps more than any other State, we have greater stake in the unity of Nigeria. Our people have made, more than any other States, the greatest contributions, sacrifices for the unity, oneness and solidarity of Nigeria. This is not to paper over the challenges we have, even some defects that the citizenry abhor”.
“It is better to jaw-jaw rather than to war-war. War has never done anybody any good. Even the so called victor is a victim. We can evolve a new and better Nigerian for all of us through a peaceful process. This is what new constitutional review process offers us”.
Governor Abiodun during the celebration reiterated the commitment of his administration towards ensuring security of lives and property in every part of the State, stressing that “it is obvious that we have lowered the political temperature in Ogun state”.
“We are adjudged the most peaceful state in the country. This is not an accident but achieved by deliberate steps to provide a safe and secure state for our indigenes and investors”.
He noted that “no part of Ogun State will be a safe haven for criminals and criminality in whatever form or guise. Those who think they can come into our dear State with criminal tendencies must have a quick rethink”.
“Ogun State will never be a home for criminals, whether big or small. We will smoke them out, arrest them and hand them over to the swift hand of justice. In addition, any property found to be serving as hide out to criminals will not only be taking over by government but such facilities will also be demolished. Whoever is found to harbor any criminal will be arrested and handed over for prosecution”.