Nigeria at 53: Better Days Ahead, Leaders Promise.

Notwithstanding its challenges, Nigeria remains a great nation with promises of a better tomorrow for its people, top political office holders said yesterday in their messages to commemorate the 53rd independence anniversary of the country.
Senate President David Mark, House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and governors therefore called on Nigerians not to despair of the trying times the nation is passing through.
According to them, better days are ahead as Nigeria, with the support of its leaders and their followers, will overcome its challenges to realise its potential as a great nation.
United States President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, also felicitated with Nigeria on its 53rd anniversary, and expressed hope of better ties between Nigerian and both nations in the years ahead.
Mark, in his message, said even though Nigeria was yet to realise all its dreams, the fact that it had recorded some landmark achievements could not be ignored.
The Senate president in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Paul Mumeh, said: “Besides the infrastructure developments across the country, we now have skilled and qualified manpower in virtually all fields of human endeavour.”
He implored Nigerians to renew their hopes and faith in the capacity to rise to internationally acceptable standards of living and sought their support and cooperation in the task of nation building.
“All of us may not be good doctors, good lawyers, good writers or good engineers, but we can all contribute our quotas where we have comparative advantages to make our country a better place.
“We must therefore strive to harness our human and material resources in a way and manner that would engender development in all ramifications,” he added.
Mark, while lamenting the challenges of insecurity facing the nation, canvassed for a review of the strategy with a view to ending the menace.
He expressed optimism that Nigeria would overcome all these challenges, but added that there must be justice to all, irrespective of ethnic, religious or political leanings, fairness and equitable distribution of national resources.
“One thing is certain that no matter the misgivings, all Nigerians have come to accept that one united, indivisible nation is far better than a fragmented one. Therefore it becomes incumbent on all of us to do our utmost best honestly to make the project Nigeria work,” he said.
Tambuwal, in his message, urged Nigerians not to allow the present challenges confronting the nation affect their determination to foster unity, peace and reconciliation among one another.
The speaker, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Malam Imam Imam, called on all Nigerians to work tirelessly to promote the tenets of democracy, good governance and responsible citizenry.
He appealed to the political elite to moderate their utterances and be mindful of their responsibility to the country.
He said with elections scheduled for 2015, all leaders must lay emphasis on executing the mandates given to them by Nigerians, by not heating up the polity through unnecessary politicking when it not yet time for such endeavours.
He reiterated his earlier call that the people must isolate and expose all obstacles that hamper the attainment of peace, development, and progress of the nation.
While congratulating Nigerians on the country’s 53rd independence anniversary, Tambuwal restated the commitment of the House   to uphold the ideals of a united Nigeria, to enable it take its rightful place in the comity of nations.
On his part, Ekweremadu in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media, Uche Anichukwu, urged Nigerians to keep praying for the nation to attain its potential.
He said the present challenges confronting the country would not stop its march towards greatness.
“We have no doubt faced challenges living up to the promises we held at independence; we might have missed opportunities but we are also overcoming our challenges.
“I call on all Nigerians to join the present crusade to reinvent and transform Nigeria; and in this wise, I urge hope, courage, perseverance, prayers, reconciliation, peaceful co-existence and patriotic fervour to build the Nigeria of our dreams as no one else would do that for us,” he said.
Also, Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, urged Nigerians to remain optimistic about the nation’s future, which he said remained bright in spite of challenges of national development.
Ihedioha, in a message to mark the 53rd independence anniversary, called on Nigerians to know that it is only their determination that will enable the country overcome its challenges.
“Let us not despair in the face of daunting challenges even though at 53, we ought to have surpassed certain minimum expectations. Nigeria remains ours to build and we must continue to maintain hope and optimism. 
“Nigeria will achieve her destiny and realise the lofty dreams of our founding fathers if we keep an attitude of resilience and determination to succeed,” he said.
Obama, in his congratulatory message issued yesterday by US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said: “A warm friendship connects the Nigerian and American people, reflecting our shared values of democracy, economic growth, security, and respect for human rights and the rule of law.
“Our partnership is strong because of our people, as the proverb tells us, if you want to go quickly go alone. If you want to go far go together.”
He added that in the coming years, the US would be looking forward to going further with Nigeria as the country expands education, jobs and opportunity for its people.
“On the 53rd anniversary of your independence, I wish all Nigerians a safe and prosperous future,” the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported the US president as stating.
Putin, in his goodwill message to his Nigerian counterpart, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, and Nigerians, felicitated with them on the celebration of Nigeria’s 53rd independence anniversary.
Putin, in his message, a copy of which was made available by the Russian Embassy in Abuja, expressed hope that the ties between the two nations would continue to grow.
“Distinguished Mr. President, please accept my sincere congratulation on the occasion of the national day of your country — Independence Day.
“I am confident that the relations between Russia and Nigeria, based on the principles of friendship and mutual respect, will keep on developing actively in all main directions for the benefit of our peoples and will contribute to stability and security in the African continent,” Putin said.
 Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, in his message, called on Nigerians to show more commitment to national development.
According to him, this is necessary so that the country can overcome the political and security challenges facing it.
He said: “Nigeria holds a great dream for all of us, and we should endeavour to build on the contributions of our founding fathers. When the leadership as well as followership, each compelled by love of country discharges its responsibility to the state, Nigeria will take its pride of place among the comity of nations.
“Notwithstanding the problems of nation-building, which we may be grappling with at the moment, the Nigerian spirit is alive and should continue to be nourished as the vehicle of our national journey.”
He urged support for the anti-graft war and stressed the need to redress imbalances in some aspects of the nation’s life.   
Obi’s counterpart in Rivers State, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, called for national cohesion and true democracy as the country marks its 53rd Independence Day anniversary.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. David Iyofor, the Rivers governor said democracy could only thrive when the people live in peace and unity and leaders show true leadership and statesmanship in line with democratic tenets.
“No democracy can grow in the face of unending conflicts and in the midst of impunity. 
“Nigeria is one country in spite of our varying cultures, religion and ethnic nationalities; and we can only succeed as a nation if we stand united,” he said.
He urged Nigerians to shelve their anger, put away strife and work together to promote peace and development.
Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, also preached hope to Nigerians as the nation marks its 53rd independence anniversary today.
The governor, in a statement by the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Kayode Akinmade, urged Nigerians to rally round their leaders to ensure that the nation’s unity is not compromised.
Mimiko acknowledged that the nation’s unity is its strength and everything should be done to safeguard it.
He seized the occasion to reiterate the commitment of his administration to implementing policies that will enhance the welfare of the people.
He explained that he has tried to keep faith with the pact he made with them at the outset of his second tenure that he would work for them, as he did during his first term.
“We must work together like partners in progress to bring to fruition the Ondo State of our dream.
“While the government under my leadership is prepared to do all within its power to move Ondo State to the next level, I enjoin the well-meaning citizenry to join me in this onerous task. This is the only way that we can be successful,” he said.
Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, also called on Nigerians to unite for the development of the country.
He urged all citizens to keep hope alive and live in peace with one another so that the country could overcome its challenges.
A statement by the governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mrs. Funmi Wakama, said Nigeria had reasons to appreciate God despite its current challenges.
He said all the developed countries of the world had surmounted one difficulty or the other during their journey to nationhood and Nigeria, like them, would overcome its challenges too.
“With single-minded commitment, hard work and sincerity of purpose, we can make our country great,” the Ogun governor, said.