Nigeria at 60: Independence Anniversary More Than Ritual, Says Tinubu
Those taking the anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence Day as mere ritual, should have a rethink, All Progressives Congress (APC) Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu said on Wednesday.
The anniversary, according to the former Lagos State governor, is reminder and affirmation of an ambitious journey Nigerians as a people began 60 years ago.
He said Nigeria had scaled so many hurdles and passed through the thick and thin to prove wrong bookmakers, who never gave the country any chance of.
Tinubu’s remarks were contained in his goodwill message titled: “Independent for good reason”. The message was issued on the occasion of Nigeria’s 60th Independence Day anniversary.
“During these 60 years, we have passed important milestones and progressed in many ways. We have endured long nights that skeptics said would end us,” he said.
On the aspirations of the country’s forefathers, Tinubu said: “Three score years ago, our people determined to amend their political relationship with the world as well as the relationship among themselves. From the unfairness and limitations inherent in the colonial situation we claimed our independence to establish our own way that we might be servile to none.
“We asserted our independence that we may be the most populous, most powerful and most prosperous nation in Africa and in the process lead our continent and our race into a more just and equable condition.
“Thus we do not commemorate Independence Day as some empty ritual. It is not some excuse to begin the 10th month of the year with a holiday. Instead, it is an annual reminder and affirmation of the noble and excellent trek upon which we have embarked as a people.”
Using Lagos, which he piloted for eight years as an example: Tinubu said: “In my own state of Lagos, we have transformed what many had written off as a dying city into a dynamic hub of commerce, openness and infrastructural development.”
He urged Nigerians to look into the future with hope that the foundation being laid by the APC administration would be beneficial to all.
Tinubu said: “Under the current APC administration, the nation is now building the institutional framework and infrastructural networks that will bring forth an era of beneficial growth and development for all Nigeria and all Nigerians no matter your current station in life and without regard to your incidence or place of birth.
“We press onward despite the unique difficulties and challenges posed this year by the global pandemic and its attendant economic difficulties. In fact, Nigeria should be proud of how it decisively managed this challenge.
“For among the world’s most populous nations, we rank among the least affected by the scourge. This we owe primarily to the merciful hand of God but also to the sage actions of government and the civic responsibility of the people.”
Admitting that Nigeria had through some challenges, the one-time Lagos helmsman said: “Today, let us not just celebrate the political space we call Nigeria. Let us celebrate the decent, industrious and kind people who make Nigeria what it is and who strive with care and passion to bring Nigeria closer to what it ought to be.”
“Yet, I would be less than honest if I did not state we have often stumbled and lost our way at times since we gained independence. Brother has fought against brother. We spilled blood that ought not to have been spilled. We have squandered opportunity. We have let our immense potentials lay idle and stagnant. But not anymore – those things are remnants of the past for which we now draw important lessons to guide us to a more optimistic and fecund tomorrow.”