By Jide Orintunsin, Justina Asishana, Minna, Sanni Onogu and Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja
Governors, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege, former Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar and Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker Mudashiru Obasa on Wednesday congratulated Nigeria at 60.
The ruling APC predicted Nigeria would return to her golden years under President Muhammadu Buhari.
Celebrating the country’s 60th Independence anniversary in a statement by the Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, the ruling party said, with determination, the country would get to Eldorado.
The statement reads: “As Nigerians and friends of Nigeria all over the world celebrate the 60th decade of her Independence from the British colony, our party, the governing All Progressives Congress assures Nigerians that the golden years of this great Nation will return under the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
“There is no doubt that Nigeria has made great national history and nationalistic history makers from her economic and political evolution in the last 60 years. As a nation, we are better than where we were and with determination, faith and commitment to our fatherland close to where we should be.
“Today, we remember and salute our founding fathers who fought for the independence of our great country and also members of our Armed Forces, many of whom have paid the supreme price to defend Nigeria’s territorial integrity and keep our country united.” The party maintained that “as a nation, we are better together than we are apart, despite our differences, our strength and progress depend on our ability to harness our rich diversity.”
The party noted that “in spite of the inherited and current challenges, President Muhammad Buhari’s administration has made commendable strides on so many fronts, most significantly the fight against graft, diversifying and revamping the economy, curbing insurgency and emerging crimes, promoting positive values in our national life, strengthening our democratic institutions and processes and achieving a respectable international standing.
“As we celebrate our 60th Independence Anniversary today, the All Progressives Congress wishes to congratulate our indefatigable President Muhammadu Buhari, our past and present leaders at all levels and Nigerians of all shades.
Also on Wednesday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) urged Nigerians to keep hope alive as the nation celebrates its 60th independence anniversary, despite the many challenges confronting the country.
In a statement by the party’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party expressed sadness that Nigerians are celebrating in despairing mood.
The party bemoaned the social, economic and security challenges that have confronted the nation in the last five years but urged the citizens to continue to work for the unity, stability and progress of our nation.
The PDP said it’s depressing that while the nation had attained lofty heights in all spheres of life since independence, such national attainments in economy, commerce, industry, education, healthcare, human capital, infrastructural developments, living standards, democratic reforms and national cohesion have been eroded by the misrule of the last five years.
The statement said: “It is indeed disheartening that whereas October 1 signposts the sacrifices of our heroes past in the quest for national freedom as well as our collective determination to live harmoniously, engender good governance and succeed as one people under a democratic rule, such pursuits have been undermined by five years of a divisive, repressive, retrogressive, corrupt and incompetent administration.
“It is equally lamentable that under five years, the gains achieved as well as our pride as an independent nation, have all been reversed by thoughtless policies, including the mortgaging of our nation’s sovereignty to foreign interests through loans and utter neglect of our productive sector.
“This has led to the wrecking of our once robust economy and turning of our nation into the poverty capital of the world; a situation that has reduced our once happy citizenry to a life of despondency and misery.
The PDP lamented the escalated insecurity, insurgency, terrorism, kidnapping and banditry that have continued to ravage various parts of the country.
It regretted that citizens have lost hope in the government and now resort to independent regional and state security arrangements.
The PDP called on President Muhammadu Buhari to save the nation from collapse by using the occasion of the 60th independence anniversary to reposition his government and urgently address the economic and security challenges that have escalated under his watch.
“Mr. President should immediately rejig our security apparatchik as well as his cabinet to inject new blood to effectively manage the affairs of our nation.
The PDP urged Nigerians not to lose hope in the nation , but to remain patriotic and resilient in their various fields of endeavour and to serve the national interest despite the odds.
Omo-Agege, in a statement, called on those agitating for the breakup of the country to join hands with President Buhari to make Nigeria a better place for the current and coming generations.
In his statement, Omo-Agege who doubles as Chairman, Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution said: “Today, in spite of our past and current challenges, we are alive to witness and celebrate Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary.”
Gen. Abdulsalami urged politicians to play by the rules and shun politics of bitterness for a better Nigeria.
He spoke with reporters in Minna during an interactive session with reporters.
“For the sake of ourselves, it is absolutely necessary that we maintain peace, Edo election has come and gone and we have learned some lessons. I believe the peace in Edo will be replicated in Ondo election,’’ he said.
Ekiti State Governor Dr Kayode Fayemi urged Nigerians to continue making the necessary sacrifice that would ensure that the country attain the level of greatness envisaged by the founding fathers.
Fayemi, in his goodwill message by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, also congratulated Ekiti people on the 24th year of the creation of Ekiti State.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum said though the country has remained one indivisible political entity despite the political and ethnic forces pulling her, Nigerians must continue to make concerted efforts to see the Nigeria of our dream come to full manifestation.
Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari and his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom, also said every Nigerian has reasons to celebrate.
Masari, who spoke through his Director-General, Media, Labaran Malumfashi, called for more support for Buhari to enable him to succeed in repositioning the country.
He said: “The President needed our sustained commitment and prayers to enable him to successfully steer the nation through the numerous challenges confronting, and even threatening, its corporate existence. Although 60 years was not a long time in the life of a nation, the country has come a long way in terms of infrastructural development.
‘’We should be optimistic enough and view the nation’s developmental Cup as half full, given the numerous false starts it has to contend with in the past 60 years of nationhood. We should also show more commitment and be prayerful to Nigeria.
Ortom urged Nigerians to uphold the virtues of sincerity, justice and fairness while rejecting impunity.
In a statement by the Chief Press Secretary ( CPS), Terver Akase, Ortom said: “We here reaffirmed the commitment of the Benue State Government to addressing development challenges of the state by developing the agriculture value chain to engage young people in productive ventures.”
His Niger State counterpart, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, said despite all the challenges confronting the country, Nigeria was still worth celebrating.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel-Berje, to commemorate Nigeria at 60, the governor hoped that a new chapter and phase would be opened in the nation.
“At 60, I hope we are able to tell ourselves the bitter truth. We all know what is right and wrong but we don’t have the courage to confront it. The way out is simple. What we need to do is to ensure that all our dead industries are resuscitated. The value chain of the industries alone will give millions of Nigerians jobs,” he said.
Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, called on the citizens to continue to live in love and apply dialogue at these challenging times to achieve the desired peace, unity, national integration and prosperity that we desire as a nation.
The governor thanked the People of Osun for their love, understanding and cooperation, assuring them of the avowed resolve of Government to continue to deliver peace, opportunities and prosperity at these challenging and austere times.
“As we celebrate the 60th Independence Anniversary of the Nigeria, I congratulate Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, the Government and People of Nigeria. Ours have been 60 years of opportunities, landmarks and challenges. But we have overcome the centrifugal forces of a civil war, political impasse, insecurity issues and economic upheavals through resilience, shared values and collective will as a people.
“We have in the last 21 years shaken off political uncertainties and run unbroken democracy. During these years, we have spoken as one people and given to ourselves self-government and nurtured the tenets of democracy. We have, in the process, proved our mettle as a nation under the prevailing circumstances. This should convince and encourage us that we have what it takes to survive our current challenges and come out stronger and better.
“The Development Agenda on which we anchor our government has provided solutions to our challenges in all spheres, building our critical sectors – health, education, economy, agriculture and infrastructure – to put us on the lane of prosperity, progress and sustainable development.
“As part of the Federating Units of the nation, we shall continue to responsibly pursue ends that will achieve the vision and dream of our fatherland.”
The chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures in Nigeria, Mudashiru Obasa, described the unity of Nigeria as a major factor in the continued growth, development of the country.
In a statement by his media office, Obasa, who is also the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, argued that the respect the country gets in the comity of nations is as a result of unity.
“Nigeria sure has much ahead of it and I am sure its leaders are not relenting in relation to how best they can steer the ship to that enviable height.
“We must, however, appreciate the fact that the country has remained together 60 years after independence whereas some others that were colonized with it have broken up or fragmented,” Obasa said.