As Nigeria celebrates its 59th Independence Anniversary, Delta state Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has called on Nigerian to rekindle their hope in the country and work to build it.Speaking at an event in Astana to mark the day, Omowale called on citizens to eschew divisions and unite to rebuild the nation.
He said there was need for all Nigerians to shun primordial sentiments of ethnicity, religion and all forms of sectionalism, and collaborate to rebuild a nation where peace, justice and economic growth would reign.
He remarked that the people had suffered avoidable hardship because of lack of commitment on the part of leaders and called for a greater commitment toward nation-building.
“As a people, we have enjoyed democratic governance in the last 20 years, but we have not fully harnessed the gains of democracy.
“It is appalling that after 20 years of democracy in Nigeria, we are still faced with same challenges of corruption, insecurity, infrastructure deficits, as a nation.“I urge all Nigerians to use the occasion of the 59th Independence Anniversary to redefine what should constitute national interest, and unite and rally to achieve that dream.
“Let us only support and elect leaders with competence and capacity to realise the dream of rebuilding and uniting the nation.
“As a people, we must take interest in politics and ensure that our choice of leaders is devoid of religious, ethnic and geo-political considerations, and it should permeate all levels.
“I urge leaders at all levels to re-dedicate themselves to the ideals of politics and good governance to ensure that they deliver a better nation to our people,’’ he said.He thanked all Deltans, especially the people of the oil-producing communities, for giving peace a chance which has culminated in uninterrupted oil production in our state.
He reiterated that Nigerians must rekindle hope in the nation as they celebrate its 59th Independence anniversary.According to the governor, all over the world, countries are facing different challenges; we should therefore, face these challenges squarely and not allow them defeat us as a people.
“Let us rekindle our hope, redouble our fervent prayers and supplication to God to see us through the numerous trials and unite us more than ever before.
“Our declarations should be positive both for leaders and the country; that way, we will have positive confirmation that the heavenly Father will grant our prayers.“I appeal to all Deltans and indeed, all Nigerians, to rekindle their faith in a united country and in the continuous protection of democracy as the only viable system of governance, which is already bringing sustainable development to our nation in spite of obvious challenges.
“I wish to assure Deltans that government will not shirk its responsibilities to its citizens as we shall at all times, conscientiously pursue what is in the best interest of the State and according to the provisions of our Constitution.“At 59, if we are to make further progress and follow the speed of sustainable development across the globe as a united people, we need to check our emphasis on regional, ethnic and religious divides, he said.Okowa called for concerted effort by all to foster growth and development in every part of the country.He said that Nigerians let us look at themselves and share a sense of belonging as members of one family.
“Fifty-nine years in the life of any human being or entity is a remarkable point to acknowledge and take stock.“I, therefore, salute our past and present leaders whose foresight and sacrifice brought us the independence, which we are celebrating.“I also salute our people, especially Deltans, who over the years, made sacrifices to ensure that our country remains united and committed to the path of democracy.
“As a government, we have maintained a steady focus on the economy of the State with a view to promoting prosperity and public- private-partnership in economic development.“The State government has expended considerable resources towards improving basic infrastructure notably roads, drainages, healthcare, electricity, schools, bridges, housing, urban renewal and portable water supply.“This administration is determined to sustain this trend. It is however, doubtful if government alone can do all.“Accordingly, this administration is exploring private sector participation in the overall development of the State.“So far, we have laid the foundation for a critical mass of skills for entrepreneurship and business development.”
Over 20,000 persons benefited from our flagship Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP), Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) and similar programmes undertaken by Ministries of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Commerce and Industry, Women Affairs, including Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency,” the governor said.He appealled to beneficiaries of the schemes to avoid selling off the empowerment tools handed over to them by the government at the end of their trainings.
According to him, such an act defeats the purpose of creating a group of determined SME operators who will turn the State’s and country’s economies around.“It is expected that the progress they make can and should be the envy of those who opt for white collar jobs.”The celebration featured match past by the military, paramilitary agencies, students and pupils of public and private schools.