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Calls For Peace, Unity Dominate Discourse

Nigeria can overcome challenges and take its rightful place on the world stage. To do so, there must be peace and unity. There were messages of hope and rallying calls for optimism as the country marks 59 years of independence. But, to some, there is not much to celebrate. Others believe Nigeria will get there.
United States President Donald Trump sees a better future for Nigeria. He vowed to strengthen the two countries’ economic relationship.

In his congratulatory message to President Muhammadu Buhari on Nigeria’s 59th independence anniversary, he said the US recognised Nigeria’s efforts to diversify the economy.

Trump said in the message he personally signed: “Dear Mr President, on behalf of the American people, I extend our warmest greetings and congratulate you on the 59th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence.
“Nigeria is among our strongest partners in Africa. We share common goals of expanding trade and growing our economic relationship.

“We are allies in the global battle against terrorism, and we want to see Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa driven out of the region and other insurgencies like them dismantled.
“The United States welcomes efforts by your administration to diversify opportunities for your talented, creative, and hardworking people to the benefit of our countries, Africa, and the world.
“I am pleased that following our meeting last year, our Vice Presidents are also building on our longstanding history of cooperation.
“I wish the people of Nigeria continued success as you mark another year of independence.”
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the last general elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, said Nigeria should be the beacon of hope, democracy and freedom, not only to the African continent, but to the black race.
He said citizens have a role to play in making the country great.
Atiku said in a statement: “When we put Nigeria first, we not only revive the Nigerian Dream, we also revive unity and faith, peace and progress, which were the ideals our founding fathers had in mind when they came together to put forward this new and independent nation 59 years ago on October 1, 1960.”
Atiku, however, said “all is not well” with Nigeria. He decried the attack on the judiciary, extreme poverty, and clampdown on press freedom, among others.
He said: “We all have a duty to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And this we must do, so help us, God.”
APC, PDP: better together
The All Progressives Congress (APC) felicitated with Nigerians on the anniversary.
National Publicity Secretary Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu said in a statement that in spite of “inherited and current challenges”, the Buhari administration has made commendable strides on so many fronts.
The statement added: “We admonish well-meaning Nigerians to engage only in acts that would heal our fault lines by promoting ethnic and religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence, which would engender Nigeria’s growth and development.
“As Africa’s most populous nation, we can do much better, given our natural resources and potential. The Buhari administration is committed to building on and affirming our giant of Africa status.”
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) called for patriotism.
In a statement by its spokesman Kola Ologbondiyan, the party praised Nigerians for their resilience despite challenges.
It urged them to keep hope alive and not surrender to ‘despondency in the face of the excesses, impunity and recklessness of retrogressive forces in high places’.
According to PDP, the October 1 date remains an undying signpost of freedom and unity as a nation.
It said: “The last four years have experienced a complete retrogression to primordial division, impunity, constitutional and human rights violations, assault on institutions of democracy, disobedience to court orders, electoral malpractices and governance by a cabal.”
The party expressed optimism that the nation would come out of the woods.
Lawan: challenges surmountable
Senate President Ahmad Lawan urged Nigerians to see the present challenges as surmountable.
He said in a statement: “The current challenges that Nigeria is going through are definitely not insurmountable and should be seen as a necessary process towards the attainment of greatness…
“God has endowed us with all it takes to be great. It is imperative on all of us, therefore, to play our parts individually and collectively to build the nation we envision and achieve our destiny of prominence and influence on the global stage.
“With our creativity, resilience, hard work and the eagle spirit, we shall surely ride the storms of these challenges to reach the heights that we desire.”
Deputy Senate President Senator Ovie Omo-Agege called on Nigerians to keep praying for peace and unity.
In a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) Yomi Odunuga, he urged Nigerians to join hands with President Buhari to take the country to greater heights.
Also on Monday, the Senator representing Edo North Senatorial District, Francis Alimikhena, tasked Nigerians to rise above divisive forces.

Gbajabiamila seeks unity
House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila urged Nigerians to remain united, adding that citizens should pray for the entrenchment of good governance.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, the Speaker tasked Nigerians to continue working hard to realise the mission and vision of the country’s founding fathers.
He said: “As we mark our country’s 59th Independence Anniversary, we must remain steadfast, united and prayerful for our country to remain one and overcome her challenges.
“It is also incumbent on us all as citizens to pray for our leaders so that God Almighty will continue to guide them aright. Let’s all work together as one people.”
Governors sue for peace
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the State of Osun asked citizens, at home and in the diaspora, to remain firmly committed to unity.

In his goodwill message, he said no achievement could surpass the country’s togetherness, which has remained intact in spite of challenges that had threatened it in the last 59 years.
He added that the people owed the country a responsibility to join the government in the task of interrogating issues that threaten the country’s collective survival as a nation, with a view to marshalling out plans for socio-political and economic growth and sustainable development.
“I congratulate and felicitate with every citizen of The State of Osun, and by extension, all Nigerians, on this joyous event and on the journey so far.

“On all accounts, it is appropriate to roll out the drums to celebrate the accomplishment of the vision of our founding fathers to birth a strong, indivisible, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
“Although the journey has been adorned by dark days of colonialism, a shattering civil war and occasional crises, we have proved to the world that our ethnic, linguistic and religious diversities are sources of strength, not division.

“Fifty-nine years down the road, we have had our accomplishments and failings, but Project Nigeria is on course.”
Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi urged Nigerians to remain steadfast in the pursuit of peace, unity and brotherhood.

He reiterated his commitment to the fulfilment of his promises to ensure the security of lives and property, enhancement of good governance and sustenance of economic growth in Enugu State.
He commended the fighting spirit of the founding fathers, the fallen heroes and heroines, the Armed Forces and other security and paramilitary agencies for their efforts and sacrifices to preserve the country’s unity and integrity.

Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello said the APC-led administration is capable of surmounting the security challenges.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary Mrs Mary Noel Berje, the governor commiserated with the victims and families of those who lost their lives in the renewed attacks by suspected bandits in Kusherki and its adjoining communities in Rafi Local Government Area.
He urged the people to be security conscious, report any suspicious character or movement and resist any attempt by individuals or groups to cause disharmony in the state.

Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari called on Nigerians to remain steadfast in the resolve to build a more progressive and united nation.
In a statement by his spokesman Abdu Labaran Malumfashi, he said: “For Nigeria to develop into the country of our dream, we should make no room for tendencies that will exploit our fault lines and pitch one section against another in a needless confrontation’.
“As the nation ages, our attitude should reflect the journey which has brought us this far together and the reason behind the journey.”

Masari is concerned about the tendency of some Nigerians not to be bothered about other regions’ travails.
He said: “In the race towards building a better, stronger and more united nation, we should not allow divisive sentiments to pull the baton out of our hands.
“We would do well to realise that whatever affects one part of Nigeria affects all of Nigeria, and it is in the interest of us all to collectively face any challenge affecting a section of the country, as doing otherwise will only give room for the challenge to envelope the whole country.
“The issues of banditry and other security challenges have nothing to do with politics, religion or ethnicity, because criminality neither knows nor respects boundaries.”

Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, said Nigeria is old in years but is a child in status. “We are 59 years old, but I don’t think we are 59 years matured,” he stated.
Speaking with reporters in Jalingo, the governor described the country’s journey as “sweet, sour and ugly.”
“It is a shame that we Nigerians, in Africa, are still lagging behind. I was in Rwanda; I was amazed at their development in healthcare delivery and other areas,” he said.

He said: “A lot needs to be done in all facets: educationally, economically, including the transformation of our thinking and reorientation of the whole system, so that the people can believe in it.
“Nigerians are people that have a lot of drives and enthusiasm; they are always willing to contribute. They just need to be shown the right direction.
“And if you ask me 10 times over, I will tell you: let us take power. If we can correct electricity in this country, I am sure two-thirds of our problems would be solved. This is because power drives modernity, it drives the economy and other things.”

In the spirit of the celebrations, Adamawa State Governor Ahmadu Fintiri pardoned 18 prisoners serving various jail terms in five correctional facilities across the state.
A statement by his Director-General, Media and Communications, Solomon Kumangar, said the pardon was in commemoration of the independence anniversary.

Kalu, others: unity non-negotiable
Former Abia State Governor, Senator Orji Kalu urged leaders to make the welfare of Nigerians a priority.
Acknowledging the contributions of heroes and heroines past, he charged Nigerians to support government at all levels.
Kalu stressed that Nigeria’s cultural, religious and ethnic diversity should be an asset for nation-building.
In a statement by his media office, the Senator said the Buhari administration was desirous of lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
Kalu: “Nigeria is blessed with abundant human and natural resources and as such, Nigerians deserve a good standard of living. The government and the governed must support each other in building a Nigeria of our dream.”
A member of the House of Representatives representing Sumaila/Takai Federal Constituency of Kano State, Mohammed Shamsuddeen Dambazau, said that Nigerians should take advantage on what unites the country and work together to build a united and strong country.
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu assured Nigerians of hitch-free celebrations.
He directed all Commissioners of Police and their supervisory Assistant Inspectors-General of Police in the States and Zonal Commands across the country to emplace necessary security measures towards a peaceful and incident-free celebration.

CAN: Nigerians wants see democracy dividends
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President Samson Ayokunle said the Federal Government needs to put in more effort to deliver more dividends of democracy.
He said: “Our leaders need to work harder and allow governance to have a positive impact on the citizens.
“The people must be provided uninterrupted power supply, good roads, the security of their lives and properties.
“Jobs and social welfare amenities must be made available to stop criminality and the brain drain we are experiencing in our nation.
“Leadership should not be about what we can grab but what we can sacrifice. These are the pathways to greatness.”
CAN chairman in Kano State, Rev Adeolu Adeyemo, urged citizens to seek divine intervention.
At a one-day prayer to mark the anniversary, he said God can turn the country round for better.

Ekweremadu seeks decentralised policing
Former Deputy Senate President Senator Ike Ekweremadu reiterated the need for decentralised policing if the country is to overcome security challenges.
In a statement by his media aide, Uche Anichukwu, he urged “leaders at all levels of governance to rededicate themselves to an egalitarian society marked by justice for all, including an equitable distribution of opportunities and amenities as a sure way of securing peace and unity among our citizens across the nation”.
On tackling insecurity, he said: “While the plans by the Federal Government to introduce community policing give an impression of shifting of ground, I doubt that such effort without first decentralising policing to allow states, which can afford it, to set up their own police services, can take us anywhere.
“On the contrary, it is like putting the cart before the horse and the result is very predictable”.

Glo greets Nigerians
Telecommunications company, Globacom, sent a message of encouragement to Nigerians on the occasion.
It said in a statement: “We felicitate with the government and people of Nigeria on the nation’s Independence celebration.
“We believe that a major reason for joy is the resilience of Nigerians to weather the storm and remain one united country notwithstanding continual threats to its cohesion.”
The company acknowledged challenges facing the country, but noted that they were not enough to discourage the spirit of loyalty, patriotism and nationalism of Nigerians, adding that other prosperous countries have come out of similar issues to rise to greatness.

The Nation

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