From Ochei Matthew, Asaba
As Nigerians celebrates the country’s 55th independence, Delta State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has urged Nigerians to reflect on the myriads of challenges confronting the nation.
In an address to commemorate Nigeria’s 55th independence anniversary in Asaba yesterday, Governor Okowa observed that apart from security challenges, the country was still being bedevilled by corruption and other challenges.
He said, “the security of our country in the face of indigenous terrorism, the scourge of corruption ravaging not only our public institutions but also our collective national psyche, grave questions over the control and appropriation of our natural resources, the disturbing rate of unemployed and unemployable Nigerians, are just some of the numerous trials we have faced and continue to encounter on our path to realizing the growth and development of our state, nation and people.”
“I imagine the best way to celebrate Nigeria’s independence is to pay tributes to Nigeria’s extraordinary men and women in uniform who are battling insurgency to restore peace in the North east,” the Governor reiterated, adding, “as we celebrate, let us pause to remember and pray for our compatriots who as I speak, are in trenches battling insurgents to save our country; we should also spare thoughts for their families and the internally displaced persons in various camps, we need to pray for our President, Muhammadu Buhari, in his push to rid our country of insurgents, who are determined to destabilize our dear nation.”
The governor, who paid glowing tributes to those who fought for the country’s independence like Chiefs Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Tafawa Balewa and Chief Anthony Enahoro among others, used the occasion to reassure Deltans of his administration’s commitment to their welfare and ensuring prosperity for all Deltans.
According to him, “this administration is looking towards changes, which we hope will put paid to the divisive and destructive use of ethnicity as a social construct for defining our identity as a people, bickering, excessive confrontation and biased ethnic patriotism are not in accordance with the spirit of the current dispensation.”
He added: “Our elites and leaders of thought must as of necessity re-channel their energies towards building a progressive society. We are open to constructive criticisms and useful suggestions that can help to positively impact on our dear State; we remain very sensitive to the concerns of Deltans.
“With increasing investment in not just roads, schools, healthcare facilities and other physical infrastructure but also in our youths through genuine empowerment, what should become more important should be the quality and efficiency of the policies and programmes of government,” the Governor emphasised.
“Fellow Deltans, let us use this occasion of our 55th Independence Anniversary to soberly reflect on how to improve on our collective living conditions, because, with your co-operation and understanding, we can bring succour to the lives of our people,” the governor said.