As Nigeria marks her 59th Independence anniversary, the organised labour has called on the country to reassert her value and leadership in the continent and stand by the tenets of democracy.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, in a statement said the anniversary of Nigeria, like the ones before it, offered an opportunity for serious soul-searching and very candid reflection.
According to him, in our journey to nationhood, Nigeria has had a number of highs and lows, saying while we should celebrate the highs, we must also ponder on the lows and pick useful lessons from them.
“It is important to celebrate the deconstruction of colonial rule and what independence offered the Nigerian nation and people.
“A priceless opportunity to pursue our dreams and rewrite the history of colonial evil by the strides of our post colonial existence,” he said.
Wabba said that the country started off on a trajectory of solid foundation laid by the country’s founding fathers, who he said were in a hurry to hurl her at par with development elsewhere.
The Trade Union Congress (TUC) President, Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary General, Musa-Lawal Ozigi, in a statement said military incursion into politics, corruption, ethnicity, religious crisis were major reasons inhibiting the nation’s growth.
The statement read, “The military incursion into politics, corruption, ethnicity, religious crisis, have worked against our national development. It is even more worrisome and unfortunate that at this time and age the crack is widening by the day.
“We must interrogate the reason why countries we were at par with have left us far behind. China, India, Indonesia, were our contemporaries but they are now in the first league while we are dragging economic space with some countries in Africa.
“Although revenue from tax has improved significantly but unfortunately, instead of widening the tax net, the impoverished public is overtaxed, leading to despondency and despair.”
TUC also berated the federal government for failing to pay the new Minimum Wage of N30,000 as earlier agreed.
Sanwo-Olu: We Must Remain United to Build Prosperous Country
In an uncommon show of patriotism, residents of Lagos State defied the Tuesday downpour and trooped out to witness the parade commemorating the 59th Independence anniversary.
At the event held at the Police College in Ikeja, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu congratulated Nigerians, urging them to keep their hope alive and remain united to build a prosperous nation.
Sanwo-Olu, dressed in Neighbourhood Safety Corps’ uniform, said the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government and leadership in the state had made irreversible progress to restore the glory of the past and build on the legacies bequeathed by the nation’s founding fathers.
He assured that the effort to rebuild the country and keep it on path of progress remained on course, while guaranteeing that the implementation of his party’s programmes would bring greater good to the majority of citizens.
He said: “Today, we take glory to the men and women who laboured and sacrificed their time, knowledge and resources to see that our nation gained freedom from colonial rule and attained the status of a sovereign nation.
“Since 1960, we have achieved significant progress despite our challenges and setbacks. We have remained united in our determination and desire to build a truly prosperous nation that will be the pride not only to Africans but the entire black race. As we celebrate this year’s Independence anniversary, we must remain committed to achieve our collective aspirations as a nation.”
Sanwo-Olu said his pact with the people of Lagos was to consolidate the foundations laid by the successive administrations in the State in the last 20 years, even as he insisted that his administration remained committed to good governance as the tool to solving the challenges facing the state.
Ogun Gov Urges Nigerians Not to Despair
Nigerians have been urged not to lose hope in the country as her current travails would be a thing of the past.
The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, stated this at the 59th Independence Day celebration held at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Kuto in Abeokuta.
He said despite the socio-economic and security challenges, the “Nigerian spirit” was still keeping the nation going.
“For our country to overcome her challenges, Nigerians must be patriotic, put behind ethnic differences and realise that we are Nigerians before any other affiliations.
“We should love our country and discharge with commitment whatsoever that is committed to our care,” he said.
Abiodun, who paid glowing tributes to the nation’s founding fathers for their untiring efforts in seeing to the development and unity of Nigeria, said 59 years of nationhood was fraught with civil war, military rules and political upheavals.
He advised those seeking for greener pastures in other countries to stay back to salvage the nation, just as it was imperative for both the leaders and followers to join hands in the task of nation-building.
The governor said as partners in the Nigeria project, his administration would tap into the vast natural resources and the great potentials that abound in the state and maximise the benefits to make life more abundant to the people.
“No government has the monopoly of resources to engender a wholesome and sustainable development. There is need for collaboration with other stakeholders, especially the private sector to build our state,” the governor noted.
Wike Decries Faulty Electoral System after 20 Years of Democracy
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has decried the faulty electoral system in the last 20 years of the nation’s democracy, declaring that it is responsible for the poor leadership selection process.
Addressing Rivers people during the 59th Independence anniversary at the Sharks Stadium in Port Harcourt yesterday, Wike noted that the electoral system has been largely fraudulent, making it difficult for votes to count.
He said: “We pride ourselves as a democratic nation, yet for 20 years, our electoral process has remained widely fraudulent and incapable of delivering free and fair elections.
“Yet, we are shamefully carrying on as if all is well, resisting every attempt at providing a credible electoral system, and not minding the monumental damage this has caused and continues to cause to the character and quality of our politics, leadership recruitment and nation building.”
He said this year’s anniversary of the country represents 59 years of mixed results. According to the Rivers State Governor, there are areas where the country has made significant progress, while in others it has failed woefully.
“By all accounts, it has been 59 years of mixed results; making significant strides in some respect and failing woefully in some others. Nevertheless, we have reason to celebrate this day because we have been free and will remain a free and sovereign nation forever,” he said.
Niger Govt Urges Nigerians to Shun Fake News, Hate Speech
The Secretary to the Niger State Government (SSG), Alhaji Ibrahim Matane, has urged Nigerians to shun fake news and hate speech for peace, progress and political stability in the country.
He made the call in a statement issued by his Information Officer, Lawal Tanko in Minna yesterday to mark Nigeria’s 59th Independence anniversary.
Matane urged Nigerians to continue to extol the virtues of love, harmony, peaceful co-existence and respect for one another, irrespective of religious, political or social affiliations.
He explained that the enduring significance of the anniversary would find its true meaning if used as a platform for deep reflection and soul-searching on how far the country had gone as a nation.
He appealed to the Nigerlites to use the period to engender patriotism, unflinching loyalty and support to the programmes and policies of the present administration to achieve accelerated development.
We’ll Launch Oyo into Economic Greatness, Makinde
The Oyo State Governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde, yesterday stated the commitment of his administration to turn the state into a land of great investments which its residents can be proud of, through economic opportunities and agricultural development.
He also charged Nigerian citizens to always put the national first and work for its overall growth.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted Makinde as making the remarks on the occasion of Nigeria’s 59th independence anniversary, held inside the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba, Ibadan.
The statement indicated that the state’s Deputy Governor, Mr. Remi Olaniyan, represented the governor at the event.
Makinde said, “Welfare programmes will continue to be our focus in order to create a good life for all the citizens of Oyo State as we pursue our four-point policy thrust of Security, Health, Education and Economic Expansion.”
He also charged Nigerians to always put the interests of the nation first in their dealings so as to diminish all negative tendencies that inhibit the country’s progress, stating that the Nigerian citizenry must change its orientation, embrace patriotism by always putting the country first.
He maintained that Nigerians must shun egocentric concepts that negate development.
A Celebration of Liberation from Colonialism, Says Ihedioha
Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State said Nigeria was celebrating 59 years of liberation from colonialism and said the country was better as a liberated nation than under colonial rule.
He said past leaders who fought for Nigerian Independence should always be remembered for their supreme sacrifice but added that no sacrifice is too big to pay for a nation like Nigeria.
These were part of Ihedioha’s speech, which he delivered yesterday to mark the 59th Independence Day celebration at Hero’s Square, Owerri.
The governor enjoined Nigerians to show patriotism to their fatherland and shun rancor and bitterness.
He said his administration had set up a framework for good governance and adopted measures to block financial leakages.
According to the governor, Imo internally generated revenue (IGR) has risen from N 241 million monthly to N 749 million, following the implementation of TSA.
He said his administration had applied a new roadmap to totally overhauling the state workforce and had instituted transparency in governance.
On security, Ihedioha said a new architecture framework has been put in place to guarantee safety of Imo people but harped on the need for everybody to corporate with his administration to achieve the desired goal.
FCT Minister Urges Abuja Residents to Hold Leaders Accountable
The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has urged Abuja residence to hold government, community and traditional leaders, to accountable to promote good governance.
Bello, represented by the Minister of State for FCT, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, gave the advice at a ceremony to mark the 59th Independence anniversary of Nigeria, which held at the Old Parade Ground in Abuja, yesterday. He stressed the need for the residents to initiate community action, galvanise and mobilise the citizenry to actualise the true ideals of the FCT.
The minister also enjoined residents of the territory to insist that the right things were done and be committed to the building of Abuja as envisaged by its founding fathers.
He said that thºe development of the FCT had not been without challenges, many of which were associated with commitment of residents to the ideals of which the territory was founded.
According to him, FCT has lived up to the dreams of her founding fathers, as over the years, it has become a melting pot of cultures, traditions and people from virtually every village and hamlet in the country.
NUT Urges Government Not to Make Education Sector Dumping Ground
The Lagos State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers yesterday urged the government at all levels to avoid making education sector a dumping ground for those who were not knowledgeable in education development. The union’s Chairman, Mr Adedoyin Adesina, gave the advise in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in commemoration of Nigeria’s 59th Independence anniversary in Lagos.
Adesina expressed disappointment that teaching job was always the last resort for those looking for employement and they rarely know how to educate students in the country.
“Due to lack of jobs in the country, most people apply for teaching, all these things are affecting education development.
“Nobody that has no education profession background should be thrown into the classroom
“Education profession requires knowledge, skills and proper planning before you can start teaching.
“For instance, I went through all education process before I became a teacher, government should avoid using teaching job as dumping ground for anybody,” he said.