As Nigerians mark the 59th anniversary of its Independence, Delta State Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on citizens to eschew divisions and unite to rebuild the nation.
The governor made the call in a goodwill message to Nigerians, especially Deltans, on the anniversary, contained in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, on Monday in Asaba.
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.
To change the narrative, the governor challenged Nigerians to engage in more constructive and patriotic citizen-participation in governance, saying that the country was grappling with the inability to realise the dreams of its founding fathers, who fought for its independence.
According to him, citizens have failed to change the narratives by allowing sentiments to determine their choice of leaders and what national interest should entail.
He also charged leaders to be more committed to the cause of nation-building and shun corruption, ethnicity, religious and regional considerations in taking critical decisions affecting the nation.
The governor thanked Deltans for living in peace in spite of the states’ multi-ethnic configuration, assuring that his administration would continue to work hard to provide solutions to issues plaguing.
“On behalf of Government and the people of Delta, I congratulate Nigerians on the occasion of the 2019 Independence celebration.
“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.
Okowa added that “at this point, let me thank 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.
“Let me reassure you all that as a government, we will continue to proffer solutions to address challenges in all sectors of our state’s economy.”