Governors across the country yesterday made historic speeches to mark the nation’s 61st independence anniversary, with many raising hope for national rejuvenation in spite of debilitating hits on the nation’s psyche.
Most of the governors while reiterating renewed commitment to lift the country to its desired position, urged the citizens to hold on tenaciously to national unity and ardent faith in the continued existence of the country.
Wike To NASS: You Are Rubber-Stamp Assembly
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has described the current National Assembly as an appendage of the federal government and a rubberstamp assembly.
This is as he said for the past six years, the country’s democracy was being weakened and put to enormous stress and jeopardy with the continuous violation of the constitution by the federal government and other public institutions.
Wike who spoke on the occasion of the nation’s 61st independence anniversary celebration in Port Harcourt, said most countries that started with Nigeria had gone far beyond the country.
He said: “With democracy, Nigerians expected strong national institutions, the bureaucracy, the security institutions and the Independent National Electoral Commission to be loyal only to the constitution, the law and the people.
“But today, after 61 years of independence and 22 years of unbroken democracy, it only seems there’s not much to be excited about Nigeria except our notional sense of independence and unity that had endured this long in the face of sustained fratricidal assaults to its existence.
“Let us make a candid assessment of the situation of our country, especially in the last six years, and tell ourselves some hard, undiluted truths. First of all, we cannot deny that most of the countries that started with us 61 years ago are far more advanced and developed with superlative standards of living for their people than Nigeria.
“Our democracy is being weakened and put to enormous stress and jeopardy with the continuous violation of our constitution by the federal government and other public institutions.
“The National Assembly has literarily abandoned its constitutional checks and balance role over the executive arm of government and become a slavish appendage to the federal government as a rubberstamp assembly.
“Neither is the situation and postures of the nation’s judiciary any better, where only a few judicial officers can stand the test of judicial courage, integrity and commitment to substantial justice in the performance of their constitutional responsibilities, while the entire judiciary, especially at the national level, has been bullied to nervousness to the detriment of our democracy, the rule of law and social justice.”
Ganduje Flays Wrangling Between Northern, Southern Colleagues
Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has condemned the war of words between the governors of the northern states and their counterparts from the South.
Ganduje while delivering a speech to mark Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary yesterday said; “The disparity between the northern and southern governors of the country is unnecessary and unfortunate.
“The unity of this country is paramount and above any individual. Governors are elected to unite the country and not to divide it.
“I call on all Nigerians, elite, the general public and other nationalities to come together to ensure that Nigeria continues to be unified,” he said.
He further called on the chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum and the governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, to immediately convene a meeting of all Nigerian governors to address the development.
He expressed appreciation for the effort of the federal government against insecurity in the country, as well as development projects of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, especially the Kano-Kaduna-Abuja road and rail.
Fintiri Warns Perpetrators Of Insecurity, Pardons 15
Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State has vowed to fight perpetrators of any form of insecurity in his state.
In his speech to mark Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary yesterday, he said those who have made violence their ideology would not succeed in destroying the peace of the country.
“Government is committed to making the state safe for all Nigerians, irrespective of our places of birth, how we worship God and our political persuasion,” he said.
He said his administration’s strategy to end farmers/herders crises had yielded positive results since the last two years.
“To all those engaging in kidnapping, Shila against our state, I ask that you embrace peace and turn a new leaf.
“I urge every son and daughter of Adamawa State to put aside political, sectional or other parochial considerations, and support whole-heartedly the efforts of the government in checking this evil.
“We will continue to deploy our resources in the fight against insecurity, and critical investments in human capital development to aggressively support our people and provide them sustainable means of livelihood.
“The introduction of the Safe Schools Initiative which is aimed at promoting safe environments for education state-wide, starting with the de-boarding of students where security is not guarantee within the state.
“We have successfully delivered on that promise as we are the first state to build and commission a fly-over in the North East,” he said.
The governor told political leaders that the contest for power should not translate to the destruction of the polity as local council polls draws nearer.
In another development, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri has pardoned 15 inmates serving prison terms in various correctional centres across the state in commemoration of Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary.
A statement signed by Solomon Kumasngar, the director general media and communications, said their release would take effect after all legal formalities have been concluded.
“The governor acted on the advice of the Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy, and in exercise of the powers conferred on him under Section 212(i) (d) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, commuted the remainder of the sentences of 15 reformed prisoners,” he said.
Gov Inuwa Yahaya Attributes Achievements To Predecessors
Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State has commended past administrations in the state for their relentless efforts at placing Gombe on global developmental map.
While first commending the first military administrator of the state, Captain Joseph Orji for placing the state on solid foundation, the governor equally reeled out the achievements of other successive governments including those of Senator Danjuma Goje and Ibrahim Dankwambo.
The governor spoke during the state’s 25th anniversary and Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary celebrations held at the Pantami Stadium in Gombe yesterday.
This was as he sought peaceful coexistence among the citizenry and pleaded with his political opponents for their support to move Gombe forward.
He said: “Beginning with the movement for state creation in the early 1980s, our leaders demonstrated an uncommon sprit of determination, resilience, unity and sacrifice.
“That extraordinary struggle was successful because of their ability to eschew all forms differences among them and unite in the pursuit of our common agenda.
“No doubt, the greatest legacy our founding fathers left for us from their struggle for state creation is the legacy of unity and sacrifice which we continue to uphold till today, thereby making our state one of the most peaceful and socially cohesive states in the country.
“Our ability to maintain unity in the midst of diversity is without doubt our greatest source of strength; it is the catalyst that keeps us going, making us one of the fastest developing states in the country, despite the relatively lean financial resources available to the state.”
“Our first military administrator, Group Captain Joseph Orji must be credited for laying a solid foundation by putting up a broad-based development agenda. He established the administrative structure of the state, provided critical infrastructure such as housing and office accommodation for civil servants, built roads, raised revenues and provided critical support to the citizenry. Group Captain Orji’s modest but significant accomplishments were consolidated and built upon by his successor, Col. M.I. Bawa.
“Under Bawa, the state witnessed significant increase in investments on basic infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools and hospitals, coupled with important policies set to revitalise the basic education sector.
“Following the country’s return to democracy in 1999, the administration of Governor Abubakar Habu Hashidu introduced some laudable initiatives in agriculture, water supply, rural development, conflict prevention, healthcare delivery and basic education.
“The Hashidu administration also recorded significant milestones in the housing sector, construction of access roads in rural and urban areas, and provision of financial loans to individuals and cooperatives in order to boost self-reliance and reduce poverty. Similarly, the administration constructed office complexes for civil servants, the judiciary and the legislature.
“On his part, Governor Muhammad Danjuma Goje initiated and completed a large number of legacy projects like the state university, the Gombe International Airport and the Pantami Stadium, among others. He also ensured a timely completion of some major projects he inherited from the Hashidu administration such as the Gombe Regional Water Supply Project, the Gombe International Hotel project, and the dualization of Tunfure-Liji road. In addition, the Goje administration constructed several rural and urban roads across the state, renovated over 110 primary schools, and connected dozens of villages to the national grid,” Inuwa said.
“The immediate past administration of Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo also made significant headways in providing critical infrastructure by expanding existing roads especially in the state capital and building new road networks in the local government areas of the state,” he said.
Uzodimma Urges National Cohesion, Sustainable Development
Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma has called for peaceful coexistence and national cohesion as necessary ingredients for appreciable national development.
The governor highlighted this in a state-wide broadcast yesterday as part of activities marking Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary.
He commended Imo people for expressing faith in a united Nigeria by residing in all parts of the country and called on them to continue contributing their quota to national unity and economic growth.
He called on opposition politicians to join hands with his government to rebuild the state rather than resorting to politics of hate and rancour.
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for accommodating Imo in recent economic empowerment programmes such as the N12 billion empowerment programme to the private sector for traders, artisans and the vulnerable which will be carried out by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in a few weeks.
Others are the special agric processing zone project for livestock farming which will attract $120 million to the state and a World Bank Urban and Rural Water development project valued at $1.4billion.
He restated commitment to security of Imo people and called on residents of the state to accept his hands of fellowship to move the state forward.
Uzodimma said COVID-19 vaccines are safe and available and urged residents to take the doses to avoid a situation where it is made compulsory for all Imo residents.