By Enyeribe Ejiogu, Desmond Mgboh (Kano), Juliana Taiwo-Obalony, Aidoghie Paulinus, Obi Okwe (Abuja), Lukman Olabiyi, Merit Ibe (Lagos), Gyang Bere (Jos), Stanley Uzoaru (Owerri), Olanrewaju Lawal (Birnin Kebbi), Abel Leonard (Lafia), Geoffrey Anyanwu (Enugu)
President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, yesterday, joined other Nigerians to celebrate the nation’s 62nd independence anniversary in Abuja.
The event which was held at the Eagle Square, also had in attendance, former President Goodluck Jonathan; former Vice President Nnamadi Sambo, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, All Progressives Congress National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu.
Members of the Federal Executive Council, the Service Chiefs, members of the diplomatic corps, were also among dignitaries at the independence anniversary.
President Buhari inspected the parade by the military, police, paramilitary organisations and allied agencies and thereafter took their salute during the ceremonial match past, which was followed by cultural displays and various displays by the men of the Guards Brigade and paratroopers; silent drills by Nigerian Military School (NMS) boys, air display by the Nigerian Air Force, among other side attractions.
Despite the pomp and ceremony witnessed at the event, Convener of Concerned Nigerians, Comrade Deji Adeyanju, yesterday criticised the Federal Government, which voted funds for celebration to mark the 62nd anniversary of the country’s independence.
Dismissing the event held at the Eagle Square as misplaced excitement, Adeyanju in a statement made available to Sunday Sun, said: “At 62 years, the naira note which is our legal tender is one of the most worthless in the world. One United States dollar exchanges for N740, while the Ghanaian currency is 10 cedi to the US dollar. There’s absolutely nothing to celebrate here because the country is not working.”
Sadly, Adeyanju said, the country did much better under the foreign colonial masters. “The new colonial masters of Nigeria, the political class, are only interested in looting and destroying the educational, health and other sectors, while sending their kids abroad to school and go to the best hospitals abroad. How can we celebrate when ASUU has been on strike for over seven months?” Adeyanju queried.
Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma and elder statesman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, have both called for the unity of the country as the nation celebrated its 62nd independence anniversary, yesterday.
In their separate independence message, they both expressed happiness, that despite challenges confronting the nation, it still remained indivisible.
“I believe that the greatest success story of our great country is that it has remained together as one indivisible nation, in spite of the many challenges that have assailed us.
“Therefore, we must resolve to forge ahead, more united and less distracted by the things that divide us. As a matter of fact, every successful nation had its fair share of turbulent and uncertain moments. But they were able to overcome because their faith in themselves and their country remained unshaken.” Uzodimma said.
While Iwuanyanwu simply stated, “We can’t succeed without love, we should not be divided by religion and ethnicity, together we confront our problems and we hope for a new leadership who truly wants to serve Nigerians.”
Speaking at the Rwang Pam Township Stadium Jos, Plateau State, Plateau State Governor and Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum, Simon Bako Lalong, expressed optimism that Nigeria will achieve greatness despite its current challenges.
He noted that a prosperous Nigeria is possible if all citizens put aside their personal interests and work for the common good in a united manner.
His counterpart and Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, enjoined the electorate to focus on issue-based campaign and refrain from the politics of division and bitterness as the 2023 general elections approach.
Governor Sanwo-Olu urged Nigerians to respect divergent opinions as the beauty of democracy lies in the fact that everyone would not all share the same ideological and political views.
Kano State governor, Abudllahi Umar Ganduje, in his remarks on the anniversary event held at the Sani Abacha Stadium in the state, urged Nigerians to work together to be stronger and better.
“In this trying and challenging times, we must combine our strength and be united and focused to make our nation stronger,” said the governor.
In Kebbi State, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu reviewed the situation of the country and surmised that the nation had “done very well” despite the fact that it spent some decades under colonial masters.
Bagudu praised President Buhari for some achievements recorded under his administration in agriculture, security and accountability.
Presidential Candidate of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, Dumebi Kachikwu, urged to bear in mind at all times the sacrifices of the fallen heroes, especially as the country is getting ready for the 2023 elections.
On his part, Speaker, Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Alhaji Ibrahim Balarabe Abdullahi, tasked both the federal and state governments to do more in the areas of security and education for the overall development of the society.
He stressed that no nation would achieve meaningful progress and development without efficient security and education.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representatives 2023 candidate for
Birnin Kebbi, Kalgo and Bunza Federal Constituency, Abba Bello Mohammed, a lawyer, expressed optimism that Nigeria would continue to wax stronger.
He called on his constituents, and other Nigerians to reflect deeply on the country’s existence as a sovereign nation with a view to correct some challenges in the nation, expressing confidence in the prospects of a more prosperous country irrespective of the existing and unending challenges confronting the country.
Meanwhile, Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri has given his administration a pass mark, saying that it made modest and visible progress that impacted the state positively.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, Diri said that within the period, his Prosperity Administration had embarked on big-ticket as well as smaller projects across the eight local government areas of the state, noting it had s far embarked on construction of nearly 150 kilometers of road infrastructure, including internal roads, in the three senatorial zones of the state.
He said the government recorded appreciable achievements in the health, sports, education and agricultural sectors as well as in human capacity development and empowerment programmes.
Chieftain of the PDP and Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Uche Ekwunife, while felicitating with Nigerians reiterated the need for collective responsibility on the path of both the political class and the electorate, especially as the country is preparing to hold elections next year.
In a goodwill message to the nation to mark the 62nd anniversary, President, Nigerian Medical Association, Dr Uche Rowland Ojinmah, renewed the call on the federal and state governments for appropriate budgetary allocation to Health, Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and urged the government to implement policies that would stem the tide of medical brain drain amongst other germane issues in the health sector.
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) advised the Federal Government to sustain its targeted interventions in critical sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, export infrastructure, tackling insecurity and free up more money from subsidy payments for a better economy.
Director General of LCCI, Chinyere Almona, in a statement noted that the quality of the business environment remains a concern to investors, especially in the real sector.
“Weak infrastructure, uncertain policy environment and institutions have continued to adversely affect the efficiency, productivity and competitiveness of many enterprises in the economy. These conditions pose a major risk to job creation and economic inclusion across sectors.” Almona said.
Agreeing with Adeyanju, former Minister of Information, Frank Nweke Jr, said that Nigeria has nothing much to celebrate after 62 years of independence because the country was enslaved to greed and bad leadership.
Nweke Jr, who is the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Enugu State, said poverty, poor resource management and insecurity had enslaved the country.
The APGA candidate insisted that Nigerian people deserved better, saying, “We deserve the freedom to live in dignity, to feel safe in and out of our homes; the freedom to access the basic necessities of life such as water, shelter, food without breaking the bank.
“We deserve the freedom to make wealth, to dream big and to know that those dreams will not be snuffed out by poor infrastructures and security breaches.”