Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, has charged Nigerians to be more patriotic and ensure that unity of Nigeria remains a top priority to them.
The governor gave this charge on Tuesday in his speech at the 59th Independence anniversary of the country, held the MKO Abiola International Stadium, Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.
Abiodun, said though Nigeria has gone through 59 years of “mixed fortunes” in the socio-economic and political fronts, the citizens, both at home and the diaspora, should celebrate the continued existence of the country.
He noted that the ability of Nigeria to survive three years of civil war, June 12, 1993 political impasse, which almost degenerated to a national crisis, had strengthened that resilience of the country and Nigerians.
Abiodun said at 59, Nigeria still has a lot of work to do and expressed optimism that the country would survive its present challenges and emerge stronger.
He, however, expressed his worry at the high rate of migration by Nigerians to seek greener pasture overseas, calling the people to stay back home and contribute their quotas towards solving various challenges confronting the nation.
“Our fifty-nine years of political independence as a nation has not been all glowing. Our dear country survived three traumatic years of the Civil War between 1967-1970; we had our civil liberties curtailed under different military juntas. We also experienced the 1993 political impasse which was close to a national crisis, but we survived it. Our experiences have taught us resilience; we have weathered together a lot of storm as a nation and people, and have come out stronger.
“It is a testament to our resilience that we are still standing as a country. Since 1999, we have continued to have civilian to civilian transition with each succeeding cycle better than the preceding one. And for this reason, we have cause to celebrate and thank God for keeping us together as a united nation whose diversity remains the tower of her strength.
“Let me say that at 59, our dear country still has much work to do. What we must remain patriotic. We must put our nation first. We must realise that we are Nigerians before any other affiliation.
“It is worrisome that our people are migrating to other countries for greener pastures. While some of our current national challenge may make it tempting to seek fortunes outside our shores, we must also realize that these countries were once in our position with different challenges. And indeed, more often than not, the greener pasture is a mirage. In any case, the citizens of these countries did not run away but stayed and solved their problems together. I, therefore use this medium to encourage our people to come together as one and solve our challenges for the greater good of our Nation. If we do this, our great nation will be better”. Abiodun submitted.