Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has congratulated and urged Nigerians to remain united as the country marks her 59th Independence Day anniversary.
Saraki said this in a series of tweets on his official Twitter page on Monday.
He also called for a shift in the attitude and ideology of Nigeria and Nigerians in order, exhibit the determination to tame and eliminate factors that keep the country down or retard her progress.
The statement reads in part, “Our present situation makes this a time for deep national introspection where we must reach the inescapable conclusion that we all need to work together and play positive roles for the country to overcome her challenges and realize her manifest destiny as a global leader.
“On a day such as this, it is imperative to call for a shift in the attitude and ideology of Nigeria and Nigerians as we must, as a country and as a people, exhibit the determination to tame and eliminate factors that keep the country down or retard her progress.
“The experts who at, independence in 1960, predicted that Nigeria would within its first two decades of independence become an economic giant did not make any mistakes because all the indices pointed in that direction for the nation. Over the years the dream has been derailed by the actions and inactions of both the elite and the ordinary people in the country.
“By now, we should have realized our mistakes and know that our present situation is far from what our country was destined for.It is high time we all decided that we will forget mundane issues such as ethnicity and focus on issues that unite the country, become our brother’s keeper, be law abiding and protect public property more than we protect our own.
While it is important for those in government to initiate progressive, innovative and problem solving policies, programmes and projects, particularly those that will uplift the poor in the society and create a more egalitarian society, the Nigerian people should also be ready to give maximum, patriotic and solid support for the success of the initiatives, and to demand accountability, transparency and sincerity of purpose from government.
“This is a time for all of us, citizens, to take a deep introspective look into how and why the South-East Asian countries that were in worse situation than our’s in the 60s and 70s have turned the fortune of their masses around, while things are worse for us.
“Pondering over this question will help us agree that the common point we should all subscribe to now is the one that will enable us work collectively and individually towards breaking the shackles that have limited our country.
“I firmly believe that if the economy of the country improves, most of the ills plaguing the nation like insecurity, youth unemployment, collapse of infrastructure and moral decay will disappear and a modern Nigeria will emerge as the real giant of Africa.
“I congratulate Nigerians that despite our many challenges, we have managed to remain together as a socio-political entity as we journey towards national discovery.
“I also congratulate Nigerians on the successful enthronement of democracy as a model of government in Nigeria and the role our country has played in the defence of democratic ideals around Africa.”
Also, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara state, on Tuesday called for a consensus among Nigerians, especially the political elite to build a country where no one is left to suffer or treated unfairly on account of whatever differences.
In a message commemorating the 59th Independence Day Anniversary, Abdulrazaq urged Kwarans across backgrounds to rally round his drive for growth and development, according to a statement by his spokesman Rafiu Ajakaye.
He said the anniversary offers another window to celebrate Nigeria’s unity in diversity, insisting the country’s togetherness after 59 years was an achievement on its own.
“I join Mr President and all patriots across the country to call on all Nigerians to embrace one another and build a country where we identify and treat ourselves only as citizens and fellow human beings, and not as Hausas, Igbo, Yoruba,Ijaw, Fulani, Christians or Muslims.
“We should work harder to build a nation-state with zero emphasis on these cleavages,” the governor stated ahead of the low key celebration of the event in Ilorin, the state capital.
“Fellow citizens,59 years down the road, we should build a country that works for all and not just for the privileged few. This requires that we look at the bigger picture each time we take decisions in our areas of influence.
“That bigger picture is national unity, national development and collective prosperity where no one is left behind,” he added.
Gov Abdulrazaq also called for a consensus among critical stakeholders to free up funds to develop Nigeria, especially in his Kwara state, where he charged citizens to shun antics that may keep the state going round in circles.
“On this note, I call on the political class to begin to see things in terms of what benefits the whole community and not what is politically expedient. Election is long over. Whether we belong to the ruling party or the opposition, we are all confronted with the question of extreme poverty, unemployment, drug abuse, the danger of climate change, crime and other challenges.” he added.