Nige­ria back on track

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE -

By Isi­aka Wak­ili, Ke­hinde Akinyemi, Abeokuta; Vin­cent Egun­yanga, Benin, Aliyu M. Ha­m­agam & Ab­dul­lahi Anako, Dutse

‘Nige­ria is back on the right track:’ This is the gen­eral theme that per­me­ated speeches and re­marks by lead­ers as the coun­try marked its 55th an­niver­sary yesterday.

The re­marks were made by for­mer Pres­i­dent Chief Oluse­gun Obasanjo, Se­nate Pres­i­dent Bukola Saraki, Chief Jus­tice of Nige­ria Mah­mud Mo­hammed, Na­tional Chair­man of the rul­ing All Pro­gres­sives Congress John Odigie-Oye­gun and many state gover­nors.

Their com­ments were in re­la­tion to the per­for­mance of the gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari which is now four months old in power.

For­mer Pres­i­dent Obasanjo in re­marks yesterday at his res­i­dence in

Abeokuta, Ogun state said: “We are not do­ing badly.”

Obasanjo who said he met with for­mer world lead­ers dur­ing the just con­cluded United Na­tions (UN) Gen­eral Assem­bly, in New York noted that they had a good im­pres­sion of Pres­i­dent Buhari.

Such lead­ers, he said, in­cluded for­mer U.S. Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton and ex-Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Gor­don Brown adding that their gen­eral im­pres­sion was that “Nige­ria is back at the ta­ble” with the world lead­ers.

“I heard some of the com­ments of those he (Buhari) met, the com­ment that prob­a­bly would not come back to him.

“He met Clin­ton for al­most one hour and Pres­i­dent Clin­ton, when I joined him for his global ini­tia­tive talked to me about the im­pres­sion of our Pres­i­dent, it was favourable.

“Gor­don Brown and I met him and we talked about is­sues. The few other lead­ers who met him gave me their im­pres­sion and his de­but so to say, it has been good.

“I think we are at the ta­ble, what they use to say that Nige­ria is not at the ta­ble, now we are present at the ta­ble.”

In sep­a­rate in­ter­views with State House cor­re­spon­dents yesterday af­ter a low-key in­de­pen­dence an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion at the Pres­i­den­tial Villa, Abuja, Saraki, Chief Jus­tice Mo­hammed and Odigie-Oye­gun all said Nige­ria was on the right path to great­ness.

Saraki said: “I am hope­ful and con­fi­dent that the fu­ture is very bright. In the next few years, things will be even bet­ter. It will not be busi­ness as usual.”

On his part, Chief us­tice Mo­hammed said: “We will make it by the grace of God. We are on the right path”.

For Oye­gun, “At 55, we have fi­nally dis­cov­ered that we had been on the wrong road. We have fi­nally moved to the road that leads to progress, hope, em­ploy­ment, pros­per­ity and that will lead Nige­ria, fi­nally to at­tain­ing that great­ness that God des­tined it for. We are on the way”.

Gover­nor Adams Osh­iom­hole of Edo State in his an­niver­sary mes­sage said Nige­ria had started to re­claim her lost glory in the comity of na­tions since Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari took the reins of gov­er­nance.

He said the na­tion had made costly mis­takes in the past and lessons have been learnt from those mis­takes, urg­ing Nige­ri­ans to re­new their faith in the na­tion as bet­ter days are ahead.

“As a lead­ing coun­try not only in Africa but in the black world, I think to­day is a very unique day in the life of our na­tion. At 55, I be­lieve, we have ev­ery rea­son to celebrate this oc­ca­sion.

“In all of this, we re­mind you that our coun­try is stronger to­day than it was 55 years ago. Re­gard­less of what some com­men­ta­tors might say, I be­lieve that our coun­try is more united to­day than it was 55 years ago. To speak of unity is not to sug­gest that di­ver­sity is not there. In 2011, in demon­stra­tion of our unity and in cel­e­bra­tion of our di­ver­sity, Nige­ri­ans across all pri­mor­dial sen­ti­ments elected a Pres­i­dent that presided for 4 years. Ear­lier this year, Nige­ri­ans across all di­vides; North, South, East and West, Chris­tians and Mus­lims also ex­er­cised our rights and demo­crat­i­cally elected the cur­rent Pres­i­dent.

“I ask us to sup­port the Pres­i­dent, have faith in our coun­try and to­gether, we will build Nige­ria to a level and put in place the right so­cio-eco­nomic pol­icy frame­work that will en­sure that the wealth of our na­tion is re­flected in the qual­ity of life of our peo­ple.

The gover­nor of Ji­gawa State, Mo­hammed Badaru Abubakar also said that the wind of change un­der the pres­i­dent Mo­ham­madu Buhari, is ev­i­dently tak­ing over all sec­tors of de­vel­op­ment in the coun­try.

The gover­nor stated that the wind of change be­came ev­i­dent in the im­proved sup­ply of petroleum prod­ucts as well as in the power sec­tor.

Badaru said while con­grat­u­lat­ing Nige­ri­ans on at­tain­ing 55 years of na­tion­hood that this year’s an­niver­sary was sym­bolic as it was com­ing at the time when a new dis­pen­sa­tion was com­ing on board.

“All these are as a re­sult of the dy­namic lead­er­ship be­ing pro­vided by our ami­able pres­i­dent, Muham­madu Buhari. I there­fore, con­grat­u­late all Nige­ri­ans as our na­tion at­tains 55 years of na­tion­hood.

PHOTO Felix Onig­binde

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari (5th right); Vice Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo (6th right); Se­nate Pres­i­dent Bukola Saraki (4th right); Speaker House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Yakubu Dog­ara (5th left); Chief Jus­tice of the Nige­ria, Jus­tice Mah­mud Mo­hammed (3rd right) and ser­vice chiefs, cut the 55th In­de­pen­dence An­niver­sary cake at the Pres­i­den­tial Villa Abuja yesterday.

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