The President in a nationwide radio and television broadcast this morning to mark the nation’s 47th Independence anniversary said no region or group would be left behind by government in its desire to build a strong, secure and prosperous nation founded on the ideals of justice, equity, fairness, patriotism and the fear of God.
Vice President Goodluck Jonathan also said on the occasion of the anniversary that government would soon convene a national conference to address the recurring religious crises in parts of the country.
Similar goodwill messages came from state governors and eminent citizens.
President Yar’Adua in the broadcast said: “The last 47 years were indeed momentous years in our history during which we faced monumental challenges, including having to fight a civil war. During these 47 years, we have had remarkable bursts of socio-economic and political development. These were punctuated by no less profound setbacks to our political development, economic progress and social cohesion. However, almost against all odds, we always summoned uncommon resilience and with abiding faith in our common national purpose, we overcame all.
“We are entering our 48th year as a free and sovereign nation against the backdrop of a renewed hope and optimism about our nation and our future. In the short four months we have been in office, we have taken initiatives to build a steady future for ourselves and our posterity. We shall continue with unmediated dedication in our determination to check corruption, reduce poverty, grow our economy, entrench absolute respect for the rule of law, eradicate abuse of due process, and create equal opportunities for all Nigerians.
“We have commenced the process of rebuilding our basic infrastructures. The energy challenge will be met in a holistic manner. We shall be guided by our national consensus for democratic governance and strengthening our democratic institutions, structures, and processes. We shall in particular ensure that our electoral process is of the highest quality and meets international best practice.
“In pursuing our aspirations for the growth and development of a peaceful, strong, secure and prosperous nation founded on the ideals of justice, equity, fairness, patriotism, and the fear of God, no region and no group will be left behind. In the troubled Niger Delta in particular, we shall secure the region for growth and development while effectively tackling the criminal dimension to the problem.
“Today brings with it another opportunity for us to reflect on our yesterday and ponder over our course for a better tomorrow.
We must resolve to work together to restore our cherished values of diligence, honesty, decency, transparency, selflessness and accountability in our polity. I made a covenant with you while soliciting for your votes that I will work towards these goals as your servant-leader. Today, I reiterate that pledge.
“I wish you very happy National Day celebrations.”
Mark harps on rule of law
The President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, said the successful civilian-to-civilian transition last May had made democracy a matter of finality even as he stressed that the country must remain guided by the rule of law.
In his Independence message, Senator Mark said: “More than ever before, Nigerians must rise above those mundane issues that seem to put us asunder, to the indissolubility and indivisibility of our fatherland.
“We must constantly and consistently harp on those attributes that bind us together as a people, and also be proud as a nation that despite the trying pasts and years of the faltering steps as a toddler, we can look back and say, bravo, we have come of age."
National religious confab coming — VP
Vice President Jonathan at an interdenominational service to mark the anniversary in Abuja said a national conference would soon be convened by the Federal Government to address the perennial religious crises in parts of the country.He said no nation could develop to its full potentials with constant instability, as no investor will put his money in an unstable economy.He asked Christians and Muslims to preach and teach that people should learn to live together inpeace and harmony.
“The religious intolerance that we have observed is coming up again must be addressed. We implore the religious leaders to preach peace and harmony,” he said, adding: “The government will soon call a meeting of all religious leaders for us to brainstorm, maybe lock ourselves up in one room for a whole day to come up with a solution that will suppress these excesses of some fanatics.
We believe that as a nation if we continue to do what we have been doing, if one religion continues to rise against the other and kill, maim and continue with the instability, we will not go anywhere. There is so much instability in the nation. When a nation is not stable nobody will want to invest in that nation."
Keep hope alive, AC tells Nigerians
The Action Congress (AC) in its goodwill message congratulated all Nigerians on the occasion of the Independence anniversary, and urged them to keep hope alive despite the pervasive gloom and rot across the nation.The party through its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, was optimistic that the “current state of despair in one the world’s most endowed nations would give way to a brighter day for all, if all citizens would join hands to work for the country’s progress and check those whose only interest is to pillage the country’s resources and feather their own nest.
“There is enough blame to go around over the situation that has left Nigeria a perpetual sleeping giant, but the issue today, as we mark another milestone in the country’s history, is for the people to strengthen their determination to move the country forward,” the AC said, adding “This can only be done by ensuring that the periodic elections held to determine the people at the helm of affairs are made to count by banishing rigging and other electoral frauds, that the right people are voted into power at all levels of government and that the country would not be perpetually held to the ground by the forces of darkness.”
Shun ‘destructive old ways’, Fashola pleads
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State invited all men of goodwill to come on board with ideas that could help take forward that noble dream of building a Lagos that would be the pride of future generations.
In his 47th Independence anniversary message to Nigerians, the Governor asked everyone to shun the destructive old ways, vain glorious criticisms and actions that could set us on a collision path with the norms of an orderly society and the law.
He said it was gratifying to note that the present government vision of the Lagos megacity project as presented at a mega city project in New York recently struck the right notes in both local and international investors who have made commitments of time and resources as partners in delivering the project.
He said the Lagos megacity project would transform vital facets like power, integrated transportation, roads, solid waste management, and provision of water, tourism, property and creation of new business districts cum financial hubs.
Uduaghan vows to offer leadership
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State reiterated the determination of his government to offer leadership to the people of the state without succumbing to blackmail or propaganda from any quarter.
The governor speaking at an inter-denominational thanksgiving service at St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Asaba, as part of the 47th Independence anniversary, assured the people of the state that utterances of disunity would not deter him from uplifting the lives of the people.
In a veiled reference to insinuation by a group over the cost of the beautification and electrification project his government has initiated to change the face of the state, Dr Uduaghan dismissed their claims as a distortion and unfounded with the intention of inciting the people of the state against the government, maintaining that it was still early for anyone to launch attacks against his administration.
Obi calls for sober reflection
Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State in his message said: “As far as I am concerned, the period calls for sober reflection and introspection on how far we have been able to govern ourselves since the first of October 1960.
Have we been able to sustain the vision of our founding fathers? Can we say in all honesty that we are better off today than before independence? Can we look at our country today and cheerfully call her a prosperous State or mournfully call her a failed State?
“Such questions are intended to provoke us all into reflection and for us to ultimately decide to build a better Nigeria that will be rule-governed.
“This calls for the sustenance of democratic ethos, hinged on civilised politics that is devoid of thuggery, rigging and all negative things that take us many notches back from the path of development," he said.