–HE, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
I congratulate all Nigerians as we celebrate our 60th Independence Anniversary. Today is another unique day in our nation’s history. It marks six decades of the anniversary of our self-rule. It is an occasion that commemorates our political freedom.
Sixty years ago, we made a procession of victory, as we bade farewell to colonialism and emancipated our lands from the clutches of servitude. It was a day of hope, promises and great expectations amplified by the reality of freedom and the vista of vast opportunities.
We may not have met all the expectations and fulfilled all the promises that came with our independence. It may seem that we are punching below our weight in terms of the rate of development and economic growth but we have recorded some progress, triumphed over challenges and excelled in many spheres. In sports, entertainment, arts, education and even in politics; The Green – White – Green has flown with pride, honour and dignity in the comity of nations, in the last 60 years.
Like many other great nations, our journey has been that of mixed fortunes. Our nation has been through periods of progress and times of setbacks. We have experienced eras of strength, unity and faith as well as seasons of weakness, trials and despair. Despite these challenges, we have remained as one, and nurtured our democracy to 21 unbroken years.
Nation building is a journey and everyone has a role to play for us to arrive safely in our desired destination. Today, we are confronted with numerous challenges and we require the commitment of all citizens to stabilize this nation. As a democrat, I believe that democracy remains the best platform for nation building, as it affords every citizen the opportunity to have a say on how our country should be governed.
I therefore urge us to make investments that will shore up the democratic gains and work towards building strong and virile institutions. We need to harness the greatness that lies within our diversity and the strength of our population, to recreate and build the Nigeria we desire. We must de-emphasize our fault lines and concentrate on the silver lining within our lands.
Every great nation is built on the patriotic sacrifices of its citizens. We should show love, unity and understanding in times of trials and never lose hope in the presence of despair. This is the spirit that is required to build our nation, to enable us live in the land of our collective dreams.
Today Nigeria and the rest of the world are going through a major health crisis, that has continued to threaten the stability of states and their institutions as well as the lives and livelihoods of citizens. We must never give up, no matter the challenges we face today. We should not live in despair of opportunities lost or dreams deferred.
Let us seize the opportunities that this pandemic presents to recreate and build a stronger nation. Our success as a nation lies in the fervency of our faith, the strength of our unity and commitment to our national creed: unity and faith, peace and progress. Let us work in solidarity to ensure that this national creed does not become a mere slogan but a lived experience for all.
Dear Compatriots, as we celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of our independence, we should recognize that not many are privileged to witness this moment as some have paid the supreme price defending and upholding our nation’s unity and advancing the course of our nationhood. I wish to pay a special tribute to these patriots who will continue to be our heroes.
And to all other Nigerians, this is not a time to lose faith in our nation. We should be steadfast in service; promoting peace, unity and hope. Let us sustain the national conversations in search of equity, justice and unity and progress.
Happy Independence Anniversary!
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