.Anniversary Worth Celebrating — Reps’ Speaker .Nigerians Must Be Optimistic For Greater Things — Minister
Abuja – As Nigeria celebrates 59 years of Independence, Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Tuesday described the continued unity of the country as a rare feat.
He supported his argument by stating that some countries were not as fortunate as Nigeria, as they had gone through worse challenges that ended up disuniting them.
He acknowledged the many problems bedevilling the Nigerian state, but stated that it required the collective resolve of both the leaders and followers to address them.
Lawan made his observations about the anniversary shortly after the ceremonial guard of honour parade to commemorate the 59th Independence Day held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He reiterated the resolve of the 9th National Assembly to aid in improving government’s policies so as to enable the citizens reap the gains of democracy.
“Nigeria at 59 has achieved a lot, but we also have some challenges. This is the way nations evolve normally. While we have achieved so much, we have some challenges which we can surmount.
“What is required of us is determination of the leadership and the followership in this country. Nigerians are very determined and loyal people. Therefore, these challenges should catapult us into our nation’s development.
“We should never despair. We have the wherewithal to resolve our issues. I also believe that the nation at 59 has come a long way in terms of the unity we have been able to achieve.
“Some countries have gone through more serious challenges that disunited them, but Nigeria has remained a country that sometimes people may feel bad about certain things, but everybody believes that Nigeria should remain a united and one country. That is what it should be, but for us to enjoy our country, we have to take our country to the next level.
“Therefore, the NASS, particularly where we are, is prepared to ensure that we come and give very good legislations that will ensure that the economy is better; that the security of the country improves; that at the end of the day we should be able to achieve those laudable objectives and goals of our founding fathers and present leadership of the country.”
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, also opined that Nigeria’s 59th Independence was worth celebrating.
While acknowledging that the country was not at its desired destination, he told State House correspondents that if younger countries marked their anniversary, there was every reason for Nigerians to celebrate.
“Every year of existence is worth celebrating. Nigeria is 59 years today; other countries, not as old as 59, they celebrate. Other countries are 200 years and they are celebrating.
“Every year is worth celebrating and we have come a long way. It is not Uhuru yet; we are not there yet, but it is a slow and steady progress. We will get there,” he stated.
Asked what should be the expectation of Nigerians as we move towards 60 years, he had this to say: “60 years itself is a landmark and I believe our achievements at that time will be landmark, too.
“We have another year to go. Budget is being presented very soon. What happens between now and at sixty – and I believe a lot will happen, will determine the level of celebration. But as I said, don’t forget, every year is worth celebrating in one’s life.”
On his part, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, admonished Nigerians to keep hope alive, insisting that the Buhari administration would continue to work to improve the welfare of Nigerians.
He said: “My message to Nigerians is to keep up hope. 59 years of Independence in a country as diverse as Nigeria is not an easy thing, but the good thing is that everybody is glad to be part of one united and prosperous Nigeria.
“And the administration will continue to work to ensure there is unity, security, and that there is prosperity for Nigeria and for everybody.
“The political class has its role to play. My advice to the political class is that we should not overheat the polity; elections are over; we should all join hands to build the nation.
“The beauty of democracy is that every four years, you have the opportunity to decide who is going to be your leader; but once elections are over, everybody should join hands together to build the country, because I believe that even those in opposition, they mean well for Nigeria; therefore, they should join hands with the government to build a united and prosperous Nigeria.”