Nigeria@63: Don’t lose hope, Atiku, Obi, Akpabio, Jonathan tell Nigerians

As the nation marks its 63rd Independence anniversary, prominent Nigerians, including former President Goodluck Jonathan; ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio; and the Labour Party presidential candidate in the 2023 election, Peter Obi among others, have expressed optimism that the country has the capacity to overcome its challenges.

In their various Independence anniversary messages on Saturday, Jonathan and other eminent Nigerians urged the citizens to work towards enthroning equity, justice, peace, and national cohesion for Nigeria to realise its potential.

Jonathan, who specifically appealed to Nigerians in a goodwill message through his Media Adviser, Ikechukwu Eze, encouraged them not to despair but to remain committed to the task of charting a more progressive path for a greater tomorrow.

The former President commended Nigerians for their loyalty to the country in the face of the modest successes recorded and the developmental challenges.

Jonathan noted that the anniversary offered citizens and leaders of the country the opportunity to reflect on Nigeria’s journey since independence.

“Our country has seen progress as well as setbacks. Patriotic Nigerians, believing in their country, have always stood firm, sharing in the glory of successes and feeling the pain of missed opportunities,” the former President said.

Also, Atiku urged Nigerians to do their best to pull the country back from the position of uncertainty to a place of common safety, Akpabio said there were many landmarks in the nation’s 63 years journey to give a sense of optimism for a better tomorrow.

Atiku lamented that the anniversary was coming at a time when the country was at a crossroads in many aspects of national lives.

The former Vice President recalled that 63 years ago when Nigeria acquired independence, it was based on the promise of abundant prosperity and the principle of social justice.

“As a nation, we have continued to struggle to manifest the dreams of our founding fathers in upholding the promises of shared prosperity and social justice.

“We have encountered great moments when the flag of our dear country flew tall on the global stage through the industry of our sportsmen and women, the prolific distinction of our academia, and the topnotch artistry of Nigerian talents in the global music scene,” he stated.

Atiku added, “While I enjoin us all to submit our strengths in faith to the Almighty God, we must be prepared to do our best to pull the country back from this point of uncertainty to a place of common safety.”

In his goodwill message to Nigerians, the Senate President, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Eseme Eyiboh, acknowledged the challenges facing the country, but added that Nigeria was currently on the pathway to rediscovery.

Akpabio said, “As we reminiscence on our 63 years as a country it is tempting to allow present economic and security considerations to becloud the triumphs of our nationhood.

“I dare say that in several fields of endeavour, the world has reckoned and continues to reckon with Nigeria in business, politics, sports and the arts.”

On his part, Obi urged Nigerians not to despair over the agonising situation in the country after 63 years of nationhood, adding that citizens should be hopeful that a new Nigeria was possible.

The presidential candidate in the 2023 election explained that though the situation in the country might be critical, it was “certainly not hopeless.”

In an Obi-Datti press statement on Saturday, the LP candidate noted that the real reason Nigerians had remained mired in poor governance and poverty after 63 years was because successive administrations had attempted to suppress the people through their policies, actions and inactions.

“Every nation invariably determines its fate and destiny; and gets a leadership it deserves. Nigeria cannot be an exception. If we subscribe to rogue leadership, then we must face the attending consequences.

“At 63 years, what type of questions are Nigerians asking of their leaders and what type of answers are we expecting? If at 63 years, we cannot conduct an election to allow the will of the people to prevail, what type of country do we expect?

“Present realities notwithstanding, Obi is hopeful that a new Nigeria is possible; but insists that the burden of responsibility is on Nigerians to take back their country from those engaged in state capture,” the statement read in part.

On his part, the Lagos State Governor, Sanwo-Olu urged Nigerians at home and in the diaspora to support the administration of President Tinubu and all state governments in their efforts to birth a new, prosperous Nigeria.

The governor made the appeal in a statement issued on Saturday through his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile.

Sanwo-Olu said, “Let us continue to work together for peace in our dear Lagos State and Nigeria. Let us support President Bola Tinubu’s government to achieve his Renewed Hope agenda.”

In his good message, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abass, urged Nigerians to keep hope in the country alive, adding that doomsayers and pessimists would soon be disappointed.

The Speaker urged the organised labour under the auspices of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress to shelve the plan to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike on Tuesday over issues bothering welfare.

On his part, the Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau, assured Nigerians of the commitment of the Red Chamber to always speedily accent to President Bola Tinubu’s request in order to fast-track the development of the country.

Senator Barau also urged Nigerians not to despair, saying the challenges facing the country were surmountable with the commitment of President Tinubu.

Joining the calls on organised labour to shelve its planned strike over petrol subsidy removal, he said there were genuine moves by the government to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal.

Also, the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, urged Nigerians not to despair, reassuring them that the President Bola Tinubu-led administration would deliver a good governance and the dividend of democracy he promised.

This was contained in the goodwill message issued in Abuja by Ganduje’s Chief Press Secretary, Edwin Olofu, to celebrate the nation’s 63rd Independence anniversary.

However, the Peoples Democratic Party felicitated Nigerians on the occasion of the 63rd Independence Anniversary of the nation and for surviving over eight years of dreadful administrations of the All Progressives Congress.

The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, alleged that the APC had reversed the gains made by the nation’s founding fathers and the achievements recorded during its (PDP) 16 years in government.

Speaking, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, said that though the trajectory had not been all rosy, Nigeria had a cause to be called a great country in the comity of nations, especially in the African hemisphere.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Levinus Nwabughiogu, the deputy speaker extolled President Tinubu’s efforts at repositioning the country in line with his Renewed Hope agenda.

In another goodwill message, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, in a congratulatory message issued by his Media Assistant, Eromosele Ebhomele, urged citizens to exercise more patience with the hope of a greater destination for the country.

Mount flags –NOA

Meanwhile, the National Orientation Agency has called on Nigerians to mount the national flag at their homes, offices and business places as part of initiatives to celebrate the nation’s 63rd Independence anniversary on Sunday.

In an Independence Day felicitation message to Nigerians, the Director General of NOA, Dr Garba Abari, said, “Independence is about people’s liberty and freedom, hence citizens, on Independence Day, should proudly display their national symbols, including the National Flag and National Anthem, in their individual spaces.”

However, the Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party lamented the sufferings in the country, especially Lagos State.

The state chapter of the party, in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Hakeem Amode, decried the current state of hardship on Nigerians in general, and Lagosians in particular.

Also, the Kano State Deputy Governor, Aminu Gwarzo, congratulated Nigerians on the occasion of the country’s 63rd independence anniversary.

Gwarzo, in a statement released to newsmen by his Press Secretary, Ibrahim Shuaibu, described the anniversary as a time to reflect on the country’s journey since independence and celebrate its achievements.

(Punch)

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