Nigeria better as united country, says Uzodimma
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Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, on Saturday, said that despite the challenges confronting the nation, Nigeria was better as a united nation.
Uzodimma, in his address to the people of the state to mark Nigeria’s 62nd Independence anniversary, expressed optimism that the nation would overcome its current challenges.
The governor urged political leaders who preached messages of hate, tribalism, religious disintegration to stop.
He said that it was not by mistake that Nigeria overcame its difficulties like the civil war and was still standing strong.
Uzodimma promised that his administration in the state was committed to serving the state better, urging the citizens and the residents of the state to support his administration to do better.
He said “Yes, despite of all these shortcomings, the way forward is not to dwell on our failures. Instead, we should make conscious effort to celebrate and be proud of our successes. And they are by no means few. Thereafter, we should use them as a foothold to march on with greater confidence into the future.
“It is important that as a nation, we should not allow our past mistakes or failed dreams hold us hostage. Rather, we should learn from our mistakes and turn the lessons into veritable tools that can help us navigate the future better. I believe that the greatest success story of our great country is that it has remained together as one indivisible nation, despite the many challenges that have assailed us.
“The memorable words of Oliver Goldsmith that, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall,” should constantly inspire us to trudge on irrespective of the setbacks we may have faced or are facing at the moment.
“Therefore, we must resolve to forge ahead, more united and less distracted by the things that divide us. As a matter of fact, every successful nation had its fair share of turbulent and uncertain moments. But they were able to overcome because their faith in themselves and their country remained unshaken.
“No nation can survive without trust amongst its people. To succeed, a nation needs trust, love and the fervent patriotic commitment of her citizens. I, therefore, see the occasion of this 62nd Independence Day celebration as an opportunity for us to re-dedicate ourselves to promoting and defending our common interests over and above self interests.
“We should also resolve to accommodate one another, irrespective of our differences, believing that the God that made it possible for us to find ourselves in one entity called Nigeria, did not make a mistake.
“If we can shun avarice, greed and ethnic irredentism, we will be helping in no small measure in building that nation that guarantees equal opportunities for all. This is the Nigeria which our founding fathers dreamt of and fought gallantly for. Let us first shower our country with the love she needs, and she will, in return, surely avail us with the opportunities we desire.
“I firmly believe that Nigeria still holds a strong promise and can still become that great nation that we shall all be proud of. Let us not give up, for the future is still very bright. If we all resolve today to be patriotic, to love one another, to love our country and to do only those things that promote the unity and development of Nigeria, even the sky will not be able to limit how high we will soar. Yes, our destiny is in our hands, that is, the hands of both the leaders and the followers.
“It is not by accident that Nigeria has survived many seemingly intractable challenges, including a civil war, and is still waxing stronger. Surely, there is God’s hand in it. A nation that has passed through these adversities and still stands, cannot afford to make a second mistake. History will not forgive us if we do.
“In the last one week, in churches and mosques across the country, we prayed for peace and unity and beseeched God to continue to bless and protect Nigeria and Nigerians. But we also have to put our hands on the plough to ensure that we make Nigeria work for all of us. After all, faith without work amounts to nothing. When we recall the sterling qualities that defined our founding fathers as outstanding statesmen, the need for our present leaders to demonstrate an unflinching sense of patriotism and nationalism, will not be compromised.
“That is the least expected of us as leaders. Our forbears actually sacrificed a lot for this country and some even paid the ultimate price in the course of building a strong and united nation which they bequeathed to us. Sadly, not many of our present day leaders are willing to emulate them. Sadly, some of us have become glorified ethnic and religious champions.
“Rather than strive to do those things that unite us, some leaders now prefer to widen our fault lines and have ended up dividing the country even further. Such leaders must rethink their mission in politics and decide whether they want to serve our nation, their tribe or their religion. But in doing so, they must remember that both tribe and religion can only exist when there is a nation that guarantees their safety, and not the other way round. More importantly, they should remember the moving words of a teenage girl, Malala Yousafzai in her acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace price in 2014. She said and I quote ‘It does not matter what’s the colour of your skin, what language do you speak, what religion you believe in. It is that we should all consider each other as human beings.’
“It appears that in the quest for power and influence, some of our leaders have forgotten or jettisoned those values that drove the passion of our forebears. Instead of embracing the ideals that brought us together, we have increasingly become more individualistic, and are now guilty of fanning the embers of divisiveness, ethnic irredentism and religious sentiments.
“Today’s leaders should be reminded of this popular line in our first national anthem which was first sung at our independence: ‘though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand’. It is unfortunate that through wild propaganda, some of our leaders now tend to emphasise more on what divides us than what unites us. They have failed to promote the comparative advantages we have as a united country.
“Those who preach separatism often do not open the eyes of their followers to the dangers inherent in a fragmented country. While I concede that our system has not been perfect; and there have been pockets of injustice here and there, I insist that all of us are better off in a united Nigeria. All we have to do is to work collaboratively to ensure that the country serves all of us well.
“As we mark this 62nd Independence Anniversary, may it serve as a wake up call to all political and religious leaders to fashion out ways of promoting our unity. We should eschew politics of hatred and divisiveness. We should stop engaging in such acts that question our loyalty to this great nation. Such activities include sponsoring insecurity and promoting separatism.
“For us in Imo State, let us use the opportunity of this anniversary to rededicate ourselves to the service of this state. We should support our government to serve us better. As a matter of fact, the state of our dream can only be built through our collective efforts. As the governor, I remain committed to the task of restoring your trust and faith in government. I shall remain sensitive and responsive to the needs of all well-meaning and law-abiding citizens of the state. Under my watch, our state would be renowned for peace and progress.”