As Nigeria celebrates 61 years of independence, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State and chairman Northern Governors Forum has called on the citizenry not to despair in the face of the daunting challenges bedevilling the country, saying “these challenges will not last forever”.
The Governor said he was very optimistic that the country will not only overcome its challenges but also become a great nation to be admired and celebrated by the entire world.
Lalong disclosed this while speaking at the 61st Independence Day parade held at the Rwang Pam township stadium, Jos, the State Capital.
He said, “Indeed so much has been achieved in terms of education, health, agriculture, infrastructure, peace, and unity. When we look back into the years past, we can say that the journey has not been easy, but yet fruitful.
“We are all aware that this year’s independence celebration is coming at a time when our nation is going through so many challenges in virtually every sector. This should however not make us despair or lose hope in our country, or ignore the giant strides that have been made over the years.
“On this day, therefore, we have to restate our resolve to building a nation where the ideals of our founding fathers will not only prevail but the major things that enhance our unity and cohesion are emphasised.
“Nigeria remains a country full of potentials and blessed with so much human and material resources that make it an envy of the world”, he explained.
“Let us, therefore, ask ourselves what has stagnated our progress and made us operate below our capacity.
“Today, we have seen how corruption, nepotism, intolerance, indiscipline, and disregard for the rule of law have created confusion in our national identity and the pursuit of national aspirations. The younger generation appears confused on what the future holds for them. This is rather unfortunate and a cause of concern for all.
“The time has come for us to arise and do everything possible to remove these and other impediments that remain major stumbling blocks for national growth”, he admonished.
“Everyone, particularly the leadership has a role to play and share in the responsibility for setbacks of the past. This is the time to move ahead and take our destiny into our hands.
“I am particularly worried that the younger generation has been so inundated with the prevailing challenges of unemployment; lack of opportunities; violence and insecurity; such that they appear to be losing hope in the nation.
“I charge you not to despair because these challenges will not last forever. No condition is permanent and even the problems of today will be history tomorrow”, he maintained.
“Oftentimes, we find it very convenient to make reference to other countries that are perceived to be doing well while castigating our own nation. Few people take time to read the history of these so-called great nations who have existed as independent nations for many years.
“Indeed, many of them passed through conditions that are worse than ours, but through patience, patriotism, unity, and resilience, they weathered the storm to attain greatness”, the Governor further explained.
“I am therefore very optimistic that we shall not only overcome our challenges but also become the great nation to be admired and celebrated by the entire world.
“Even within these current circumstances, there is clearly a huge attraction to our potentials and possibilities. Let us not allow people from outside the country to see the blessings that we have better than we do.
Lauding Plateau State, the Governor said, “Here in Plateau State, our administration has continued to rebuild the major fabrics for development which is peace and security.
“We have made a lot of progress to institutionalize peaceful coexistence through the Peace Building Agency and the Inter-Religious Council.
“This we believe is key to every development”, he stressed.