Nigeria@61: Jonathan, Atiku, Tambuwal decry nation’s challenges, preach peace, unity

FORMER President Goodluck Jonathan has urged Nigerians not to lose hope in the country following high level of insecurity, struggling economy and other challenges facing the nation.

In a statement to commemorate the country’s 61st Independence anniversary, Jonathan said the journey of nationhood was a marathon, which required patience, resilience, tolerance and determination. 

He said the uncertainties of the present time could not match the limitless promises which the nation held for its citizens.

Jonathan said commemorating the Independence was an opportunity to reflect on the nation’s progress, celebrate its achievements and ponder over dreams that were yet to be fulfilled.

“We may have hiccups along the way and challenging times that might be stretching our resolve and determination to forge ahead. But we should not relent nor succumb to fear, discouraging trials and threats of today. 

“We will never lose hope in our country and in our indomitable spirit and capacity to overcome difficult times, seize the moment and conquer. This time offers us a new opportunity to renew our drive towards attaining greater heights and secure our shared dreams and common vision.”

He urged the citizens to aggregate the successes, challenges and lessons of the last six decades and apply them towards a more prosperous future for the current generation and their posterity.

But, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar expressed worry at the declining standard of living of people in the country.

According to him, it was regrettable that extreme poverty and joblessness had persisted despite the nation’s vast oil resources.

 He said there was no excuse that 61 years after Independence, most people in the country still lived in extreme poverty.

 He called on governments at all levels to push policies that would lead to improved standards of living for the citizens. 

“I also urge our leaders at all levels of the imperative of making our democracy work for all through justice, equity, fairness and equal spread of development across the country.

“I also advocate for bipartisan initiatives by political leaders to address the spate of insecurity compounded by joblessness and poor living conditions.

“Nonetheless, it is worthy to celebrate our great nation on her anniversary today. We have come a long way together as a country. Although we have challenges that beset us like other countries, we must not surrender to them. We must work together, in truth and justice, to overcome these challenges as a stronger and more united country,” Atiku stated. 

For Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, the 61st Independence anniversary had come with a mixture of joy and sadness.

Tambuwal said the founding fathers who fought for the nation’s Independence foresaw a prosperous and united entity.

He said it was saddening that the nation was drifting.

 “We are, indeed, a people who individually and collectively possess all the attributes and qualities on land so richly endowed as to confer on us the eligibility to raise our heads among the comity of nations proudly.

“Nigeria is, however, sadly being held back from reaching its true destiny by challenges that are mainly our own making. We are still grappling with difficulties in sustaining a true democratic order.”

He said even without the negative impacts of COVID-19, the country’s economy had been in crises that were substantially caused by deficits in policy and lack of adherence to the rule of law.

“National security is in clear, present danger, as all parts of the country are ravaged by one form of insecurity or the other, a sad situation that has inflicted upon us, heavy losses in lives and socioeconomic sustenance. These numerous crises have turned our diversity from an endowment into a cause of division, as Nigeria experiences a period of disunity unprecedented in its history,” he said.

Nevertheless, he said the hopes and vision of the founding fathers remained alive and realisable.

He said the nation would shame its detractors and excel if the citizens worked with unity of purpose, 



    The governor cautioned against tribalism, sectionalism, and other unpatriotic attitudes that could further endanger the nation. 

    He said many citizens were making the country proud on the global stage despite internal wrangling across the nation.

    While calling on the citizens to choose good leaders in the next general elections, he appealed to the Federal Government and leaders of thoughts and faiths to desist from politicising insecurity and promote values that would enhance peace and unity.

    Meanwhile, Jonathan, Atiku and Tambuwal have been tipped as possible contestants in the 2023 presidential poll.

    Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's The ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022 and has been the organisation's News Editor since September 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].

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