The Borno State government yesterday celebrated Nigeria’s independence anniversary for the first time in the 12 years of insurgency.
The event which was held at the Ramat Square in Maiduguri featured a parade by members of the Nigeria Police Force.
Governor Babagana Zulum who was represented by his deputy, Alhaji Umar Kadafur, said the auspicious event could not hold in the state for quite some time due to the peculiar security challenges bedeviling the state.
He said notwithstanding, yesterday’s celebration was indicative of the gradual return of peace to the state and the country at large as a result of the successes recorded by the Nigerian military and sister security agencies which prompted the state government to close all IDP camps in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council and Jere local government area to facilitate voluntary resettlement of residents of many communities across the state.
“They sacrificed their personal comfort, energy, time and wealth for the country to be an independent, united and indivisible entity. As such, we will not allow these sacrifices to be in vain. It is evidence that the administration of President Muhammad Buhari has shown strong commitment to the indivisibility of Nigeria and ensured that every citizen has access to freedom.
“On this day and in the spirit of rededication, we renew our commitment to confronting the challenges of critical infrastructure destroyed by the decade long Boko Haram insurgency and exploring avenues to create job opportunities for our teeming unemployed youths, thereby minimising the upsurge of social vices in the society.
“We remain confident that with the massive investments we have made in the last three years in the expansion and strengthening of our resettlement and recovery effort, we shall succeed in our commitment to provide dividends of democracy on a sustainable basis and attainment of our policy thrust.
We have a duty to improve on job creation, access to education, healthcare delivery services, security, potable water supply among others. We can do these only in a climate of peace and security,” the governor said.
He enjoined all citizens to remain united, live peacefully and shun all tendencies capable of plunging the nation into chaos and anarchy as the 2023 general elections approaches, and urged all to imbibe the spirit of patriotism and peaceful co-existence for a prosperous nation.
“We need to make commitment beyond our heroes past to reflect on the gains and lessons learnt over the years and face the challenges of our time. We must be evident in our character of selflessness and sense of responsibility that characterised the lives of our heroes. For the nation to actualise its corporate vision, there is need for all citizens to appreciate the differences and diversity inherent in Nigeria,” he said.
He added that though the country is facing a number of daunting challenges, such challenges are not unsurmountable, stressing that in the face of all these, the resolve and abiding faith must remain unshaken for the interest of the country.
In another development, the United States has sent a goodwill message to the government and people of Nigeria on the 62nd independence anniversary of country.
US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, said in a statement issued yesterday by the US Embassy in Abuja that his country was ready to support Nigeria’s war on terrorism.
Blinken said; “The partnership between our two countries is strong and is built on our shared values of democracy, diversity and a spirit of entrepreneurship. The United States is committed to supporting Nigerian efforts to counter terrorism and insecurity, improve health systems, strengthen democratic institutions, promote respect for human rights, and bolster economic growth including through bilateral trade and investment between the United States and Nigeria.
“We stand with Nigeria as a democratic partner in supporting free and fair elections and value Nigeria’s leadership on global and regional issues including the fight to end the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to expanding our relationship over the coming year and advancing our mutual interests. The United States joins in your celebration and extends our sincerest congratulations.”
Elsewhere in the country, Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, congratulated Nigeria and Nigerians on the occasion of the independence anniversary. The governor noted that in spite of the challenges Nigeria had gone through, remarkable achievements had been made with improvement in the lives of the people.
Buni commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the security agencies for sustaining the fight against insurgency in the Northeast, with tremendous improvement in peace and security in the region. He expressed great hopes for a better future in the years ahead and called for unity and cooperation for a better Nigeria.
Governor Buni said Nigeria was blessed with huge human and natural resources capable of developing the country and improving the lives of the people. He commended the people of Yobe State for the support and cooperation so far extended to his administration and assured that his government would consolidate on the gains recorded in healthcare delivery, infrastructure development, education, commerce, agriculture, women and youth empowerment and others to make life more meaningful for the people.
Gombe State Governor Inuwa Yahaya said his administration had constructed about 500 kilometers of roads in the 11 local government areas of the state in the past three years.
In his address on the occasion of the 26th year anniversary of the creation of the state which corresponds with Nigeria’s independence day, he said when he came on board, he came up with ‘Network 11-100 project’ under the Gombe State Development Agenda which targeted the construction of at least 100 kilometers roads in each of the 11 local governments of the state.
The governor said so far, the work plan was being successfully executed as about 500 kilometers of roads were provided in addition to completion of abandoned roads projects inherited from past administrations.
Aside the roads, Inuwa said his government constructed and renovated 1, 200 classrooms in various schools across the state and provided 114 functional primary health care centres in each ward across the state.
Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu yesterday commended President Muhammadu Buhari for good leadership within the seven years of his administration, despite the insecurity, dwindling economy and other problems challenging the administration. He also expressed confidence that Nigeria would remain one entity and no amount of sabotage, religious or political crisis would divide the country and its citizens. Bagudu who spoke at the Abdusalami Abubakar Press Centre in Birnin Kebbi to commemorate Nigeria’s independence anniversary said the APC led administration under President Buhari made tremendous achievements, especially in agricultural revolution and according to him, Kebbi is one and first among the beneficiaries.
Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello in his message said seeking health services and education abroad was recent years’ development in Nigeria even as he attributed it to corruption and harped on attitude change.
The governor in the celebration held at the Bako Kontagora Memorial Stadium, Minna urged Nigerians to reflect on the growth and development of the nation in the past 62 years, and
recalled how the country had been peaceful with good schools, hospitals and other infrastructure in the past, attributing the decay and woes of the country to corruption.
He said “For those of us that experience the past decades, we can easily tell you that we had a very safe environment then, traveled at any time, had good hospitals, good schools, the practice and habits of going to school abroad or going to the hospital abroad started not many years back.
“It is my sincere hope that we will get back to those good old days where we will have confidence in our school system, we are very confident in our health care system,” he added.
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State charged the populace to be vanguards of peace and harmony. Addressing people of the state at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano, he advised Nigerians to live as brothers and sisters irrespective of their religious beliefs or ethnic differences.
Ganduje noted that his administration had recorded a lot of successes in terms of providing befitting infrastructure, youth empowerment and improving the health sector, education and agriculture.
The governor advised people of the state to shun politics of thuggery and violence, and appealed to them to embrace democracy of tolerance and peace geared towards having a great nation.
In Imo State, Governor Hope Uzodimma urged Nigerians to accommodate one another and work assiduously for the unity of the country. In a broadcast to people of the state, Uzodimma stressed that this year’s independence anniversary marked yet another milestone in the history of Nigeria, when the country was admitted into the United Nations General Assembly as a sovereign nation.
He reiterated that 62 years down the line, Nigerians had made some progress in the task of building a nation despite some failures. The governor however pointed out that it was not yet Uhuru for Nigeria.
“Let me also use the auspicious occasion of this independence celebration to sincerely congratulate ordinary Nigerians for their resilience these past 62 years. By living in different parts of the country to earn your livelihoods, even in the face of security threats and daunting economic challenges, you have continued to demonstrate your commitment to a united Nigeria. I declare you the real heroes of this independence celebration. You have shown incredible faith in the country. Please, do not despair,” he said.
Similarly, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State called for unity of purpose, togetherness and tolerance at a time he described Nigerians as more divided than ever before.
Speaking at the Ribadu Square in Yola, the governor appreciated the acceptability that ‘none of us is as great as all of us’.
Fintiri who was emphatic on the role of law enforcement agencies in ensuring growth and development of the state and the nation, said all hands must be on deck in the fight against insurgents, kidnapping and armed banditry.
“Today, we are proud to tell our people that we’ve been able to change the ugly narrative and are ever ready to defend our actions publicly knowing fully well that we’ve made a difference in governance within our first tenure despite these challenges,” he said.
Kwara State governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, who spoke at the independence anniversary parade in Ilorin said Nigeria is a nation on the rise regardless of some drawbacks in its efforts and its share of the global challenges.
AbdulRazaq who congratulated Nigerians on the 62nd independence anniversary said leaders and citizens must play their roles to better the lot of the country and its people.
“Nigeria is a nation on the rise. I agree that we are struggling against various challenges of nation building. Yes, we are up against the fluctuations of the global economy,” he said, adding: “However, our country is not stagnant. We are not hopeless, everyday, new successes are being recorded in the economy, infrastructure development, defence and in our democratic journey.”
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Mallam Mohammed Bello urged FCT residents to remain steadfast and vigilant and be guided by the spirit of oneness and love for the country as Nigeria heads into the election season.
The minister advised that hate speech, divisive rhetoric and actions during the election campaigns should be called out and their sponsors be held to account.
Bello said this was even more so as the 2023 general elections draw near, calling on all residents to take their civic responsibilities very seriously at the polls, and remain discerning in imbibing all the political messages they will be exposed to as some of them clearly might be intended to cause disaffection within their ranks.
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri and minister of state for petroleum resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, urged the people of the state to always promote peace and support practical development in the state.
While Chief Timipre Sylva commended the people, praying that God’s continued blessings abide, Governor Diri said his administration had elected to follow the path of peace with all, regardless of political persuasion or point of view insisting that peace is, after all, the irreducible minimum for development and prosperity.
Diri, in a state broadcast to mark the celebration, pointed out that despite the harsh assessment of his administration by some few politicians, Bayelsa at 26 was still a work-in-progress, and any honest commentator would agree that in just two years and eight months, under the careful watch of this administration, commendable development had been accomplished.
Primate of All Nigeria and Bishop of Abuja Anglican Communion, Most Rev’d Henry Ndukuba said Nigeria has a great destiny, despite her present challenges and God would show up for Nigeria amid the challenges.
The primate in an independence day service in Abuja yesterday said for every nation on the earth right from the beginning of history, there had always been one nation dominating the other and nations going through hard times.
He said what Nigeria is going through presently is not new, and they are trusting God that for every birth of a new baby, there is always a pain, as Nigeria is presently going through the pain of the labour of birth.