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Monday, December 11, 2023

Remarks By Akpabio On Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Anniversary



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I share the joy and pride of all Nigerians in this season of the celebration of our nation’s 63rd Independence Anniversary. To those who may feel that Nigeria has nothing to celebrate because of the tough economic times we are in, let me remind them that every sunset is a welcome opportunity to reset and reboot, and every sunrise should be met with new perspectives. Let them not mistake the present pains of childbirth which comes with expectation for the pains of constipation which only comes with bile.

In his Independence speech at Nigeria’s independence in 1960, Nigeria’s prime minister, the late Alhaji Tafewa Balewa waxed prophetic, “But now we have acquired our rightful status, and I feel sure that history will show that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace: it has been thorough, and Nigeria now stands well-built upon firm foundations.”

History has not shown that the building of our nation proceeded at a wise pace, neither that Nigeria stood upon firm foundations at Independence. The foundations were not firm enough to resist the inordinate ambition of five majors. They were not firm enough to withstand the drumbeats of civil war.  The challenge of every generation of Nigerians, thereafter, has been to fortify and strengthen the foundations of our dear country so that they could hold our collective aspirations and expectations.

In 1999, after several hopes were betrayed, after several false starts and disappointments, after despair gave way to malaise, Nigerians, led by the statesman, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, stormed the gates of destiny, cleared the cobwebs of military rule and made way for democracy.

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We can now see that Alhaji Balewa was prophetic. We now have firm foundations – strong enough to hold our democracy for 24 years and set to hold it forever. Therefore, we should not let our present circumstances which are temporary becloud our permanent  sense of pride that we now have a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Elections give us a government of the people as we vote. Representation and appointments give us a government by the people. But responsible, people focused governance gives us the government for the people.

I declare that the administration of our dear President, His Excellency Senator Bola Tinubu, is a government for the people. As long as this administration keeps in step with the people, speaks the language of the people and sees things through the eyes of the people, the Tenth National Assembly will walk with them. This administration will not walk alone.

Compatriots, the time has come for Nigerians to stop waiting for the nation they want and start being the nation we all want. No matter the pain and difficulty, we must never give up on our dreams or lose our confidence in our leaders. Let us continue in the pathway of patriotism no matter how bad the twists and turns on the road..

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Alhaji Balewa said in the same address that Nigeria “emerged without bitterness or bloodshed…” So how come a nation which was born in peace and harmony has suddenly become a cesspool of insecurity? How come a nation its first prime minister declared that it was “destined to move with quiet dignity to our place on the world stage” is now laboring with many indignities in the world stage? Why would a nation which was said to have “come to this task (nation-building) better-equipped than many” become ill-prepared in meeting simple challenges of the time?

My answer is in William Shakespeare’s immortal words, “There is a tide in the affairs of men Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat; And we must take the current when it serves,  Or lose our ventures.”  I believe this country took the tide when it served by electing His Excellency President Bola Tinubu and his Vice President Senator Kashim  Shettima; we took the tide when we voted for our Senators , we took the tide when we voted for the honorable members of the House of Representatives. Therefore, I assure all Nigerians on this memorable day that we will not lose our ventures.

Thank you and God bless all of us

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