ADDESS DELIVERED BY THE GOVERNOR OF OGUN STATE,
HIS EXCELLENCY, SENATOR IBIKUNLE AMOSUN CON, FCA,
AT THE 57TH NATIONAL DAY CELEBRATION,
HELD ON SUNDAY, 1ST OCTOBER, 2017.
Once again, it is another October 1st. As a nation, and, as a people, it is not just another day. It is a significant day in the annals of our dear country. On this day 57 years ago, an independent nation was birthed. That very day marked a watershed in the emergence of Nigeria as a major force on the continent of Africa, and in the world at large. It was the dawn of hope, as conceived by the founding fathers, for our country to stand tall and be counted as a nation whose destiny was in the hands of her own people. On behalf of the Government and the entire 7.2 million good people of Ogun State, I wish all Nigerians, a happy 57th Independence Anniversary. It is also not out of place to wish Nigeria, a happy birthday.
- Today, 57 years down the line, our country has taken its rightful place among the League of Nations. In our journey to nationhood we have weathered some storms; having to surmount the Civil War between 1967 and 1970, having to overcome the political and the socio-economic teething challenges, we have cause to be grateful to Almighty God that Nigeria is still standing as one, indivisible entity. For us as a nation, every October 1st should be a timely reminder of how far we have come and how tenuous the cord of unity that binds us together is.
- Fellow Nigerians, the reason we have the privilege of celebrating our Independence every year is down to the sacrifice and the indomitable spirit of the founding fathers by whose efforts and sacrifices we can have a country to call our own. It is important at a time like this never to forget the roles played by great Nigerians like the Late Chief Jeremiah Oyeniyi Obafemi Awolowo; Late Dr. Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe; Late Sir Ahmadu Bello; Late Mallam Abubakar Tafawa Balewa; Late Herbert Macaulay; Late Anthony Enahoro; and, a host of others who laboured for the emergence of Nigeria. These great minds birthed this great nation for us. It is, therefore, our responsibility never to let this heritage slip out of our hands.
- Perhaps, the significance of the National Day Celebration every October 1st is to take a lesson from the sacrifices of our heroes past and to ensure that nothing divides us as a people. In this moment of stock-taking and sober reflection that the National Day Celebration has afforded us, we must begin to see strength in our unity and diversity. What is not in doubt is the huge potential for continued prosperity and socio-economic development as one, indivisible nation. We must, therefore, guard against all acts capable of jeopardizing the translation of this huge potential into reality.
- It is no doubt that our 57 year old Nation has gone through times of trials and challenges; we survived thirty-six (36) months of Civil war. We midwifed a successful transition from a long period of military rule to a stable democracy. Issues like poverty, insurgency, mono-economy, tribalism, militancy and corruption are amongst the issues that are threatening the survival of our Nation. It is regrettable that the Nigerianness in us is being diluted by hate speeches capable of sending our country into a conflagration. Even as we overcame the fall-outs of the last Civil War, let us call up the Nigeriannness, that is the resilient spirit in us, to nip all these current challenges in the bud.
- In the spirit of this Celebration, I charge us to be first, Nigerians, before any other thing. Let a day like this rekindle in us a nationalist fire for us to see others as brothers and sisters, irrespective of their creed or breed. In another dimension, eternal vigilance is required against divisive elements among us. We must begin, as a matter of utmost importance, to keep at arms length ethnic jingoists and religious fundamentalists who would rather see our country break up than continue to flourish. I charge all of us to lend our voices and our ideas to the cause of Nigerias unity by drowning out the voices of the few divisive elements among us whose stock-in-trade is belligerent posturing.
- Dear compatriots, the issue of restructuring has gained currency in recent times. But restructuring, in itself, means different things to different people. There is no common agreement on what should be restructured and in what form it should take. What is important for us now is to look for common ground for the benefit of all. I think it will be of benefit to let go of our differences and come together as one people irrespective of our ethnic, religious, political and geographical differences. We must collectively look into the issues that affect us as a people in order to provide lasting solutions and strengthen our peaceful cohabitation as a nation and also offer prayers and remain more dedicated to the wholesome development of our nation, so that the labour of our heroes past shall not be in vain. If we want a better future for our nation, we cannot just wish it, we have to work towards it. As the saying goes: the surest way to predict the future is by creating it by oneself.
- It has come to a stage where everyone of us, Nigerians, must stand up and be counted. We can no longer play the ostrich by choosing to bury our heads in the sand while wishing all our challenges will just disappear. The truth is that the challenges will not just disappear by mere wishing. We cannot afford to continue to sit on the fence and act unconcerned; or else the challenges will fester. Many of us still remember the ugly sights of the civil war. We cannot afford for such to happen again! The good news is that majority of Nigerians are willing to sacrifice more to ensure that Nigeria continues to sustain her rightful place in the league of nations.
- Let me enjoin all of us to remain more supportive and to contribute our quota to the task of nation building. It is an undisputable fact that some of the greatest countries have had trying periods but the ability to surmount their challenges was a launch pad to their greatness. We must utilize that intrinsic nature of survival in us. We must realise that providence has been good to us in this part of the world. Aside from the social, economic and political challenges faced by many nations of the world, they are also faced with natural disasters. But for us, most of our challenges here are man-made, and if they are, what that suggests to us is that they are surmountable with dedication and resilience. As a country and people, we must, right from now onward, begin to see our glass, as half-full rather than as half-empty.
- However, as we call on the people to continue to do their part in rallying behind the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Government for the continued socio-economic development of our great nation, we, as leaders, must also continue to provide quality leadership at our various levels of authority. As leaders, we have to remain accountable to the people. We must be good managers of the resources entrusted to us. As we continue to tackle myriads of challenges confronting our nation, let us keep in view the legacy that we want to leave behind in the minds of the people, and, the way we want posterity to judge us.
- On our part in Ogun State, we will continue to leverage on the economic viability of our State. Without sounding immodest, the large concentration of industries in Ogun State is a testament of the commitment of our Administration for the past six years to creating a conducive environment for businesses to flourish. The advantage of this is that, more of our youths are being employed and cases of crime in our State have been reduced to the barest minimum.
- My good people of Ogun State, our Administration will ensure that all ongoing projects embarked upon across our three Senatorial Districts are completed as scheduled. With our prudent management of resources, our Administration has embarked upon all these projects across various sectors of the State economy ranging from roads, education, health, agriculture, etc.
- On this note, let me enjoin us that as we celebrate this anniversary, let us continue to promote peaceful co-existence, socio-economic development, respect for rule of law and eradication of corruption. As an Administration we are determined to build a society with equal opportunities for all to fulfil their potentials. All we ask from our people is their continued support, cooperation, prayers and patience as we continue to unfold and implement people-oriented programmes in our dear State. We must join hands together to take Ogun State to even greater heights.
- Once again, l wish the people of Nigeria, a happy independence anniversary celebration.
- I thank you all for listening, and God bless.
Senator Ibikunle Amosun CON, FCA
Governor of Ogun State, Nigeria
Sunday, 1st October, 2017.