■ REAL TROUBLE WITH COUNTRY — Archbishop Chukwuma
By Onyedika Agbedo
As Nigerians mark the 57th independence anniversary of the country today, the Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Most Reverend Emmanuel Chukwuma, in this interview, takes a critical look at the country’s quest for nationhood so far. To him, there is nothing to celebrate but the sustenance of democratic governance in the country after several years of military rule, which according him, caused the country some of her present woes. He also speaks on other contemporary issues in the polity with a call to President Muhammadu Buhari to re-examine his administration now.
How would you assess Nigeria’s journey to nationhood at 57?
At 57, Nigeria has come of age and having come of age, one expects a lot of things to be in place such as good governance, good leadership and good infrastructural development. Since independence and since becoming a republic, Nigeria as it is today is just a country; it is not a nation. And as a country it’s a matter of people coming together with different ideas to continue to see how they can live together. At 57, we still find ourselves with different kinds of ideas, agitations and all that. It means that Nigeria at 57 should begin to think about what can make us to continue to live together. That is why there is need for a serious referendum.
However, we have not done badly as far as the sustenance of democracy is concerned in this current dispensation. But one is very much sad that our forefathers fought for independence with a spirit of sacrifice and selflessness but that spirit is no longer there now. What we see in the present crop of leaders and politicians we have is selfishness, greed, aggrandisement and bitterness. This, therefore, has affected the progress of Nigeria as far as governance is concerned. The rate of embezzlement of public funds and corruption has been increasing in Nigeria since independence; meanwhile, it was not so before.
I feel that a person at 57 is matured and should be sensible. One therefore wonders if Nigeria is sensible or senseless at 57 with the level of violence, discord and agitations across the country. This shows that Nigeria is having a lot of problems as to her leadership.
At 57, there is need for us to look at a situation where a lot of things have gone bad and see the need for them to be put in place so we can have a new Nigeria before it gets to 60 years. So, even though we have got improvements in road infrastructure in the last 57 years, there is need for further improvements so the roads would be in proper shape. In those days, it was DUMEZ that built most of the roads and they were of high quality. Today, the quality of our roads is very inferior and that’s why many of them don’t last.
Also, our educational system has had a spiral decline over these years. We don’t have qualitative education anymore. And as we approve the establishment of more universities in the country, we are not thinking about the employment of the young ones who would graduate from these institutions, hence the increase in crime rate. These crimes have definitely led to Nigeria having instability and insecurity. We have kidnapping, armed robbery, cyber crime, Boko Haram is there, IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) is there and a lot of discriminations as far as religious and ethnic sentiments are concerned. Nobody is thinking about the totality of Nigeria but selves. This, therefore, is affecting the maturity of Nigeria at 57.
So, I advise that our leaders should repent as Nigeria turns 57. Let us work together and find a way to make Nigeria better. God has given Nigeria a lot of resources but due to squandermania, bad leadership and bad governance, Nigeria still remains poor. Our oil boom has become oil doom and this is sad. So, a lot of sacrifice is needed on the part of our leaders as we celebrate Nigeria at 57. A lot of selflessness, godliness, fear of God, unity, love and peace is needed for us to move ahead if Nigeria will continue to be one.
With the picture you have painted, at what point did we start getting it wrong as a country?
We started getting it wrong when the military took over power. The military came into the leadership of Nigeria shortly after independence and introduced a lot of things into the system, which have affected our democracy. Right now, you can see what is happening in the South-east with the Operation Python Dance II. In a democratic country, the military should not be found on the streets. The military operation in the South-east is absolutely unfortunate and antithetical to democratic governance. It is a disgrace to democracy. And this is the way through which they (the military) get corrupted because they now cart away a lot of money for security. Out of the 57 years Nigeria has existed since independence, calculate how many years the military has ruled this country. So, they must be blamed for whatever abnormality the country is experiencing now. There was a lot of squandermania and corruption when the military intruded into the political situation of this country. That has affected the politicians themselves, which has made Nigeria to be what it is today.
So, things started going wrong after the military incursion because of their selfishness and then the civil war. After the civil war, things got out of hand. Morality, value and every other thing changed from what they used to be in 1960. It is a shame! Time has come for us to begin to go back to what was the moral value and dignity of Nigerians. Nobody talks about integrity anymore; everything is about money and that is not what will make Nigeria to grow. Our youths are now very much polluted by the politicians; nobody wants to go and work hard anymore. Thank God we are now talking about going back to the farm. At independence, we depended on agricultural products. Very soon oil will go and where shall we be?
So, we also got it wrong also when we abandoned Nigeria’s other resources and depended on oil. But now we are going back to where God has blessed us and we should all be serious to go back and stop depending on oil. There are other areas God has blessed Nigeria and we must begin to tap them. Everybody must begin to work hard again. There is too much laxity across the country yet people want to make money by all means without working. Free money is a problem for Nigeria. People should learn to work hard again.
So, what military incursion and the politicians caused has really affected the foundation of our independence. I wish we were not given independence so early. We got independence on a platter of gold without knowing the value. I think that God should have allowed us to be like South Africa so that the colonial masters would lead us to a point of serious development. Right now, we are just crawling at the age of 57. And it is only when we turn to God and repent of our sins that Nigeria can be better.
One of the challenges facing the country today is distrust among virtually all the ethnic nationalities that make up the federation. Nigerians appear to be returning to their ethnic enclaves now more than ever before since independence. Why is it so and what is the way out?
It is the fault of the leadership. There is discrimination because of political differences. The leadership must know that anybody who takes power is a leader for all. A situation where somebody comes to leadership and becomes sentimental does not augur well for the country. We have hate sentiments and hate appointments and all of that. Those are the things that are causing divisions among Nigerians; when you begin to discriminate and say, ‘these are my people, these are not my people’ and begin to sideline some areas in some things, you are creating division as a leader.
Look at the people of Niger Delta. Nobody is thinking about how to develop them and then you use the money from that area to develop the northern part of Nigeria. If you look at the composition of most of the boards and the committees in the country today, they are all northerners. And you think the country will be peaceful when you are sidelining and marginalising a section of the country? So, anything happening now should be blamed on the leadership for their bad sentiments and approach to governance. But if there is equity and justice among all Nigerians, there won’t be problems.
Everybody must be treated equally. We are all Nigerians; we fought the Biafra war and we have decided that to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done. But if we are to keep Nigeria one, everybody must be treated accordingly and not sentimentally. This is what is causing these ethnic divisions. There is also the issue of religious sentiment. You are a Muslim in leadership and then Christians are nowhere to be found and then there is division everywhere.
So, these are the problems. But if there is sincerity, equity, justice and open mindedness in the scheme of things, there will be no agitations and differences among the ethnic nationalities.
Check the whole appointment in the country today; there is no single South-easterner among the service chiefs. There is no south-easterner among top government functionaries in the federal executive. The zone was not even considered for the position of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). But we have a situation where the President is from the North; the SGF (now suspended) is from the North, the Chief of Staff is from the North, the Army Chief is from the North; in fact almost everybody is from the North. What has the South-east done? You said that we should be one, that Nigeria should be one, and now you are marginalising a section of the country.
That is what caused the agitation by the IPOB, which of course is not difficult to understand, and now you are banning them. You can’t ban them. We have the Arewa group that is agitating and now you ban IPOB. I am not supporting IPOB because my position is if you want to agitate, then you agitate the right way. But these are part of the circumstances that caused agitations and the growth of hatred and hate speeches and all that among Nigerians, which have to be addressed by the government. The government must be a listening government, a government that is ready to dialogue and a government that is ready to heed to the yearnings of the people. And if it is not ready to do that, then there would be suspicion everywhere.
You appear to be indicting this particular administration; you think they have not been fair to the South-east?
This government has not been fair to the South-east and to everybody. They are discriminatory and I can say it without fear or favour. This present government is discriminatory and should be held responsible for the sort of agitations, sentiments and even hate speeches we see across the country today because of the way they have been sidelining some people. The wealth of the country belongs to all of us but it is in the hands of a few. There is even no accountability now; corruption is going higher. I mean all the money that has been seized from here and there what are they being used for. Why are strikes here and there? Why is government keeping the money and not paying teachers, professors, doctors and allowing people to be crying that their salaries are not being paid. It’s a failure!
This government needs to re-examine itself now. Look at the power sector; the sector is degenerating everyday. There is high rate of suffering among Nigerians now and that is a mark of failure. If a government promises that it would change things for the better and there is no change, then it has failed. They should re-examine themselves now. They have not done what they promised that they would do and people are getting very much confused and fed up. Nigerians have suffered enough and it’s high time Nigerians began to enjoy the beauty of Nigeria and not for some people to be enjoying it. It is unfortunate that while many states and many people are suffering, some people are enjoying the wealth of Nigeria. This attitude of winner take all should not be tolerated. A time will come in this country if care is not taken when these young people that are coming out from the universities without being offered jobs and so are frustrated will cause a revolution. It is then that it will dawn on us.
Talking about the alleged marginalisation of the South-east by the present administration, do you subscribe to the view in some quarters that President Buhari hates the Igbo?
He does and that is very obvious. Buhari hates the Igbo and he made it quite clear initially because he felt that Igbos didn’t vote for him. But once politics is over, political grievances should also be over. He should not be marginalising the Igbo because they did not vote for him. How about tomorrow? You have to prepare their minds and show them that you love them so that they can vote for you or your party tomorrow. But he is not doing that because there is a sort of sentimental negativity against the Igbo, which is not right at all.
Look at the issue of IPOB and Fulani herdsmen; the government has declared IPOB as a terrorist group but says that Fulani herdsmen that have been terrorising communities across the country are not terrorists but herdsmen. That is part of the hatred. What development has he brought to Igbo land? The roads are not good; the second Niger Bridge is not done; the harbour in Onitsha is being neglected; and appointments are not being equitably shared. I mean, what kind of rubbish is that? So, he should behave himself as a leader of all and not behaving as if he is a leader of Daura or the Hausa/Fulani alone.
On the issue of IPOB, don’t you think they really went too far by, for instance, by establishing a secret security service and all that?
If you can recall, there was a time I warned Nnamdi Kanu in your newspaper. It was on the front page of The Sun. I do not support the actions of IPOB. By the way, who are the IPOB? IPOB is not recognised by the United Nations because Igbo people who were the indigenous people of America are no more there. So, it’s a wrong terminology and it’s not even registered. But the thing is that something caused them to be doing what they are doing — agitating for their right. And that is what we must look into. What is the cause of these peoples’ action?
Two, the elders in the South-east have failed to take their positions and that is why the youth stepped in. That is why the elders must take up their positions rightly now. The elders in the South-east have been sleeping; they have neglected their responsibilities and they have allowed things to go bad. Even our politicians too have not done enough to protect the future of these youths; they use them for politics and dump them. And somebody came out from somewhere and said, ‘look, we have lost a lot, let us begin to agitate’. And they gave themselves a name called the IPOB. Well, they are not indigenous people. But the thing is that I don’t support violent actions or having a sovereign nation. You cannot have a nation within a nation. Of course, Nigeria is not a nation but a country.
But the thing is that government could have handled the situation differently because when the Niger Delta militants were doing their own agitation, we all saw how it was resolved. It was not handled with force. So, government must find a way to pacify these boys and dialogue with them to find out what they want.
Unemployment is one of the problems; those boys are frustrated. And what is the Nigerian government doing to end their frustration? They are not thinking about it. The politicians are busy using the money they make to recycle themselves in politics. This is the problem; nobody is talking about how to establish industries to create employment.
Look at the forthcoming Anambra governorship election; the amount of money that is being wasted in politics is a shame to Anambra State. How many industries have those jostling to govern the state established? How many job opportunities have they created for the people? But they can bring out billions of naira to canvass for votes. Why? Is politics business? Politics is service but they have taken it as a way of making money because of what they will be stealing in office. It’s a shame and this is why these young boys are very much annoyed that they have not been given the right direction and the right leadership. And that is something we must address as a country.
What is your advice to members of IPOB in the face of the current situation?
When I earlier warned Nnamdi Kanu, I said they must now lie low and let the elders take up the issue and re-direct it to the government. They must not resort to violence because Ojukwu himself said that he led the first war and that a second one is not necessary. Most of these boys have never seen war; they have not experienced war. Nnamdi Kanu was born in 1976, six years after the civil war. So, what does he know about war? War does not bring peace or progress. So, I think he must be re-directed.
I thank God that Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the South-east governors have now come up to do that. All of us must now join hands to make sure that they take up what these boys are agitating for maturely and in the right direction to make sure the government gets the message and knows their grievances for which they have been acting the way they do.
If they see that government is listening to their elders, they will pipe down. So, there should be an approach that will make the boys see that the elders have now waded in to re-direct their agitations so that the government can understand their grievances, as was the case with the Niger Delta militants. Then things will be properly shaped and there will be peace. Nobody wants violence; nobody wants war. I experienced the Nigerian civil war and I don’t want war any more. I don’t even want a separate Igbo nation.
The thing is that the colonial masters should also be blamed for the situation of the country as far as I am concerned. I listened to an elderly man sometime ago when I traveled to London who confessed that they made a mistake in the way they ceded power to the North. It’s not they are more than us; it was a mistake. So, it was the colonial masters that made the mistake that caused the confusion in the country with some people thinking that they have more powers than others or that they should rule forever. But everything should be shared. There should be shared governance. In fact, once there is shared governance and equity and we take each other as one in this nation, nobody will be complaining or agitating. That is my stand.
You advocated for the conduct of a referendum earlier in this interaction. What do you think it should be based upon?
It should be based on enthroning equity and justice; it should be based on enthroning equal sharing. There is a lot of cheating in the country today. The power at the centre must be diffused. When there is too much power at the centre, then the state and local governments suffer. A situation where everybody goes to the centre to look for money aids corruption; it also doesn’t help grassroots development because the grassroots are not up there. The grassroots are the states and local councils.
Again, the unity of Nigeria should be discussed in the referendum. Are we going to be together or not? Are we ready to tolerate ourselves? Are we ready to share power? Are we ready to know that we are one and that nobody is bigger than the other, that we are all Nigerians? These are the things we must discuss.
And there have been talks about restructuring. Restructuring, yes, but what are we restructuring really? We must begin to itemise. And if restructuring is going to be a better option, then government must begin to listen. They must listen; but unfortunately the government is not listening. That is the problem.
But there is need for the government to call people and say, ‘okay, what is this restructuring you are agitating for all about’. If they discuss it, they will know the next way forward. But when you just say no to restructuring, we are not under a military or an autocratic government. We are practicing democracy — government of the people, for the people and by the people. And that is what it must be for us. What we have now is military democracy and that will not be tolerated. Buhari should begin to think that he is heading a democratic government and not a military government. And he should understand too that he is an old man. This is part of the things we must think about.
Nigeria is now 57; anybody that is above 70 should not rule Nigeria anymore. Enough of this old, analogue leadership. That’s what we are experiencing now. It is good that he is trying his best to make sure that Nigeria becomes a less corrupt country, but again he is not taking the right direction.
What advice do you have for Nigerians as the country turns 57?
Nigerians should repent and draw closer to God and our future will be better. Let us love each other and stop hating one another. Let’s fear God and respect lives. The way lives are being wasted today in Nigeria is not the way it was wasted in the early 60s. Some people are being killed for no reason and God is not happy about it. Let me also add that the Operation Python Dance should be called off. The military should go back to the barracks; the police should be empowered to do its work. That is the way to go now.
Dialogue is panacea for conflict resolution — IBB
As Nigeria marks her 57th independence anniversary, former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, has urged all Nigerians to always embrace peace and dialogue, saying they are antidotes for conflict resolution.
He said even though the nation is bedeviled with senseless agitations and conflicts, there was need for careful appraisal of our journey to nationhood.
“The resilience of Armed Forces of Nigeria to curtail secessionist agitations throughout our nation’s post independence journey has reduced tensions and unnecessary disruption of lives and property,” Babangida said.
He added: “Peace remains the best option in resolving conflicts and agitations in the country. Recent conflicts and agitations, chanting slogan of war and hate speeches are derailing the nation’s development and unity.
“As an active participant in the civil war and a retired military officer, with the hard lesson learnt, I will never be tired in calling for the oneness and unity of our great nation. We will forever be ready to sacrifice for a united and prosperous Nigeria whenever the need arises
“During our tenure in government, we deliberately formulated policies, programmes, projects and even the creation of states to further weaken unwholesome agitations for secession and promote mutual and peaceful coexistence devoid of ethnic, religious and regional discriminations.”
Babangida said government at all levels should continue to encourage mutual tolerance and protect the life of every Nigerian who should feel at home anywhere they find themselves in the country.
He urged Nigerians to pray and work towards peace and progress of the nation. He advised those beating the war drum through hate speeches to sheathe their swords and support the government in addressing security and economic challenges.
He noted: “We should support the government in addressing the security and economic challenges as I urge Nigerians to extend their gestures with a hand of fellowship to one another and assist those affected by natural disasters, conflicts and communal clashes that are presently confined at various Internally Displaced Persons Camps (IDPs).”
Renew faith with the nation, Jonathan urges Nigerians
Former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has called for increased accommodation and tolerance among Nigerians, stating that the nation would make appreciable progress when the citizens unite and work together.
Jonathan in a message to mark the country’s 57th independence anniversary also urged Nigerians toshun hate speeches against fellow citizens.
In a statement released by his spokesman, Ikechukwu Eze, the ex-President called for oneness and accommodation, stressing that the country would surmount its present challenges and emerge stronger.
He said: “I wish all Nigerians a happy 57th independence anniversary. As a nation we are moving on, on October 1, 2010 we celebrated our Golden Jubilee as an independent nation. Again, in January 2014, we celebrated our Centenary as a nation. And today, October 1, 2017 we are celebrating our 57th Independence Anniversary.
“It may seem as though we are passing through insurmountable challenges, but I am very intimately aware of the can, do Nigerian spirit which will help us surmount our present challenges.
“You may say tough times are here, but I say to you that tough times do not last, but tough people do. I call on all Nigerians to renew faith with Nigeria as we add another year to our age. We will get better, we will be greater, of that there can be no doubt.
“Let me also seize this opportunity to call for togetherness, oneness and accommodation for all. We must accept the fact that none of us is as great as all of us. We thank God for the journey so far. We had challenges, we still have challenges but the Nigerian spirit of resilience will carry us on.”
Obaseki urges peaceful co-existence
From Tony Osauzo,
The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has congratulated Nigerians as the country celebrates 57 years of independence today with a call for peaceful co-existence.
He said the joy of being independent people couldn’t be qualified as it brings limitless freedom and a high sense of self-worth.
The Governor urged Edo people and Nigerians in general to remain broad-minded and accommodating irrespective of our diversity.
“On this occasion of our 57th independence anniversary celebration, I urge all Nigerians to bask in the euphoria of self-governance and extend the excitement to non-Nigerians in our midst”, Obaseki said.
Kalu calls for patriotic spirit among Nigerians
Former Abia State governor and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Orji Kalu, has urged Nigerians to be patriotic in their pursuits, stressing that the collective interest of the people should be placed above selfish ambitions.
He noted that Nigeria has made tremendous progress in the promotion and sustenance of democratic virtues in the polity, adding that democracy is a panacea for sustainable development.
According to him, the rule of law is a fundamental tenet of democracy and as such, Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike regardless of social, economic and political status must adhere to the laws of the land.
While advising politicians to play by the rules in their endeavours, Kalu faulted political office holders who use their positions to enrich themselves at the detriment of their constituents.
In a statement issued by his Special Adviser, Kunle Oyewumi, in commemoration of Nigeria’s 57th independence anniversary, Kalu berated propagators of hate campaign, adding that Nigeria has come to stay as an indivisible entity.
He said: “The ideals of Nigeria’s founding fathers had not been properly followed by many leaders and as such the country is yet to take its rightful position in the comity of nations.
“As a people, we must collectively work together to promote political stability in the country for the sake of peace and development. The political class has a key role to play in driving national well being.
“The future of Nigeria lies in the hands of us all and we must continue to exhibit good values in our endeavours in order to build a decent society.”
Kalu used the occasion to admonish the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Arewa Youths and other sectional groups across the country to communicate their grievances to appropriate authorities without undermining the law, adding that hate speeches if not mitigated can lead to civil unrest.
Tambuwal seeks more investment in education
AS the country celebrates its 57th independence anniversary, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State has urged Nigerians to rededicate themselves to making the nation one of the greatest on earth.
This, he said, can be achieved by making more investments in education and striving to secure a bright future for Nigerian children.
In a statement issued yesterday in Sokoto by his spokesman, Malam Imam Imam, the governor said investments in education and technology would be worthy legacy to be bequeathed to the children of Nigeria.
“They are investments that will bring the best out of the next generation of Nigerians and enable us to reach our potential as individuals, as communities, as a nation.
“We must continue to put the right policies in place and ensure diligent implementation of such policies. This is important because our children hold so much hope for our future and no investment can be said to be too much for them.”
Ortom pardons 28 prisoners
From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has approved the payment of fines for 28 prison inmates in the state to guarantee their freedom as part of activities to mark this year’s Independence Day celebration.
The governor, in a message of felicitation with all Nigerians said the decision followed the recommendation of the Advisory Council on the Prerogative of Mercy.
Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, the governor expressed the belief that the challenges facing the country could be overcome if Nigerians join hands with government and avoid actions and speeches that are capable of fanning the embers of hatred and disintegration.
He restated the commitment of the government and people of Benue State to the unity of the country and expressed optimism that the country would attain greater heights under the present administration.
Ekweremadu calls for patience, optimism
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has urged Nigerians to be patient and optimistic, as the country would surely overcome her challenges.
Ekweremadu made the call yesterday in his message to Nigerians on the occasion of the nation’s 57th independence anniversary.
He said that although Nigeria was bedeviled by a myriad of challenges, with a positive mindset and leadership, the country would spring back to reckoning as a true giant of Africa and realise the dreams of the founding fathers.
The lawmaker said: “I am an optimist. As a matter of principle, I prefer to see the positive sides of life without also overlooking the problems. At 57, we have no doubt about our challenges as a nation. But we have also made progress. We survived a civil war to remain one country.
“The important thing also is that Nigeria remains a nation with unbeatable potentials. All we need is the right attitude and leadership to translate our potentials to greatness.”
Ekweremadu, however, sued for patience, prayer, love, unity, and positive attitude among the citizens for the country to fully realise its potentials.
Lalong urges Nigerians to sustain nation’s unity
From Gyang Bere, Jos
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, has urged Nigerians to sustain the unity of the nation and promote the ideals envisioned by the founding fathers of the country.
Lalong stated this in a press statement signed by the Director of Press and Public Affairs, Emmanuel Nanle on the occasion of the Country’s 57th Independence anniversary.
He noted that the country has scaled so many hurdles and survived many challenges in its 57 years of existence through the bond of brotherhood.
He added that having achieved a lot as a multi-ethnic nation of great human and natural resource endowment, Nigerians must commit themselves to the building of a virile nation that would be bequeathed to posterity.
Lalong also expressed his displeasure with all negative and retrogressive statements in national discourse capable of destabilising the country. He, therefore, advised citizens to rise against hate speech and divisive utterances.
Akeredolu to Nigerians: Don’t lose hope
From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Ondo State Governor, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has felicitated with Nigerians as the country marks its 57th independence anniversary.
Akeredolu in a statement issued in Akure yesterday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Segun Ajiboye, urged Nigerians to continue to have hope in the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to transform the nation politically and economically.
He noted that “notwithstanding the current challenges confronting the country, the nation’s leaders will not rest on their oars in their determined efforts to tackle the challenges.”
The governor assured the citizens that the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal and the state governments would not abandon their mandate to promote their interests.
Besides, Akeredolu enjoined Nigerians, especially those aggrieved, to adopt legal and constitutional approaches to air their grievances.
He urged the citizens to shun divisive efforts in the interest of the unity and peaceful co-existence of the country.
Military coups, civil war distorted Nigeria’s progress — ACF
From Noah Ebije,
As Nigeria marks 57th independence anniversary today, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has noted that long history of military coups and the civil war experienced by the country retarded its development strides and put the nation where it currently finds itself.
ACF however said that even though the country is yet to realise its full potential and deliver on the expectations of its citizens, the fact remains that the people had been able to sustain the unity and stability of the country.
This was contained in a statement signed by ACF’s National Publicity Secretary, Ibrahim Muhammad Biu, as it felicitates with Nigerians on the independence celebration.
“ACF felicitates with Nigerians on the 57th independence anniversary of our country. The journey over the years, considering our diversity and complexity, has been full of challenges in the areas of national security, peaceful coexistence, political and economic development. Our founding fathers laid a good foundation for a prosperous Nigeria. However, the instability we witnessed in our polity, especially the military coups and the civil war, have affected and distorted our journey to a developed nation at 57.
ACF urged Nigerians “to regard the current challenges as part of the process of nation building, and to cooperate and support the present regime of President Muhammadu Buhari in its war against corruption, insurgency and impunity in governance, in order to pave the way for a united, peaceful and prosperous nation.”
Let’s strengthen the bond of unity and cohesion –Dogara, Lasun
From Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
As Nigeria marks its 57th independence anniversary, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has urged Nigerians to strengthen the bond of unity and cohesion, “as a people of common destiny.”
This is as the Deputy Speaker, Sulaimon Lasun Yussuff in his goodwill message to mark Nigeria’s 57th Independence Day appealed to Nigerians to continue to do what it takes for all to live in harmony, love and peace.
Dogara in his independence anniversary message issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, noted that Nigeria could only attain greatness in an atmosphere of peace, unity and stability.
The statement read in part: “May I use the occasion of this year’s independence anniversary to urge us all to reflect on those things that unite and bring us together as a people, and shun individuals and groups with divisive tendencies.
“At this time, more than any other, we must adopt the right strategies and utilise the advantages of our diversity to our benefit as well as blend our differences for positive outcomes in the process of building the Nigeria of our dream.”
Use the Independence celebration to detach yourselves from APC, Governor Wike tells Nigerians
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has called on Nigerians to use the 57th Independence Anniversary to completely detach themselves from the uncontrollable lies of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Addressing market women at the Mile 1 Market in Port Harcourt on Saturday after inspecting ongoing projects, Governor Wike said that the APC has failed Nigerians and there is no need giving them another chance.
He regretted that APC promised Nigerians several projects, but none has been actualized after more than two years in office.
Governor Wike pointed out that the Mile 1 being built by his administration was one of the failed promises of the immediate past APC administration in the state.
He said: “APC is a party founded on lies and deceit. They make promises without any intention to keep the promises. They lie without remorse.
“Take this Mile One market for instance. The immediate past APC administration in the state promised to construct the market, but they failed the market women. We promised to build the market and work is progressing.”
The governor said upon completion of the market, the administration will not allow street trading in that axis.
“I want to inform you that when we finish this market, street trading will not be allowed along this road. This market will accommodate all of you”, he said.
He charged the market women to observe basic sanitation and support the contractors to deliver on schedule. He said the market will come on stream by next year.
Governor Wike inspected ongoing completion work at Woji-Akpajo Bridge and road, Dualization of Elelenwo-Akpajo Road, Slaughter Road, Garrison-Trans-Amadi-Elelenwo Road, Produce House And Mile One Market .
Buratai calls for partnership against criminality
From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Turkur Buratai, has enjoined individuals, groups, organisations and various entities to remain focused, supportive and committed to government’s efforts to rid Nigeria of criminality as the country marks its 57th independence anniversary.
Besides, he urged the youth to embrace peace, which is the basic foundation for growth and socio-economic development with a view to reducing poverty and unemployment.
Buratai spoke at the Nigeria Writers Peace Summit organised by the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), where he was honoured with an award of ‘Icon of Peace’ at the Lead City University, Ibadan, yesterday.
The summit featured interactive session, awards presentation to more than 50 Nigerians and launch of a book on Nigeria’s involvement in the politics of peace and security in Africa from 1960 written by a historian and the current chairman of ANA, Oyo State chapter, Funso Omotosho.
Buratai, who was represented by the General Officer Commanding, 2 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Chukwunedum Abraham, noted that the moderate successes recorded so far in enhancing national security in terms of fighting insurgency and terrorism and other criminal activities were facilitated by the support of good Nigerians, government’s avid determination, the media, civil society organisations and the dogged posture of officers and men of the Nigerian Army in synergy with other security agencies.
The awardees also included the Olugbo of Ugboland, Oba Frederick Akinruntan; the Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun, Minister of Communication, Alhaji Adebayo Shittu; founder and Pro-Chancellor of Lead City University, Prof Jide Owoeye among others.
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