President Muhammadu Buhari has scored the performance of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) administration high.
Buhari in his last Independence Day Address this morning said the efforts in re-setting the economy manifested in Nigeria as it exited two economic recessions by the very practical and realistic monetary and fiscal measures to ensure effective public financial management.
He added that the effective implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and cutting down on the cost of governance facilitated early exits from recessions.
President Buhari said his administration had given the desired priority to the agricultural sector through a series of incentives to micro, small and medium-scale enterprises that resulted in creating millions of jobs.
“Leading this initiative, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s intervention in a number of areas as well as the Anchor Borrowers Programme had created the required leverages for Nigerians towards self-sufficiency in food and the necessary attraction for farming as a business,” he said.
ASUU must have a rethink
On the industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), he said: “I must confess that I am very pained by the recurring disruption to our tertiary education system and I am using this Independence Day celebration to reiterate my call for the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities to return to the classroom while assuring them to deal with their contending issues within the limits of the scarce resources available.
“This administration has made appreciable progress in redressing these issues that have been lingering for over eleven years.”
‘Only credible elections’
On the significance of credible leadership, the president said: “No matter what gains we make, without a good governance system anchored on electing credible leaders on the basis of free, fair, credible and transparent elections, our efforts would not be enough.”
While speaking on the country’s challenges, he said: “In the past few years, we have witnessed and overcome a good number of challenges that would ordinarily have destroyed our nation. However, the indefatigable spirit of the Nigerian people has ensured that we overcome our challenges.
“It is in this spirit that I call on all of us to individually and collectively bring to the fore in dealing with all our development issues.
“I was called to serve, along with my team, I saw an opportunity to create a better Nigeria which we have done with the support of Nigerians. Almighty God and the good people of Nigeria supported us in laying a solid foundation for the Nigeria of our dreams.”
‘All shall be well’
Meanwhile, prominent leaders have congratulated Nigerians on the occasion of the country’s 62nd Independence Day celebration, urging them to remain hopeful, resilient, united and patriotic despite challenges bedevilling the country.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan urged Nigerians to remain resolute in the defence of national unity and promote fairness, justice and peace.
Lawan, in his message to Nigerians on the country’s 62nd independence anniversary, said the National Assembly would “continue to work for good governance and to strengthen our bond as a nation.”
“The Almighty God in His infinite wisdom brought us together in our diversities. He has also preserved our union despite the challenges that we have encountered in nation-building and socio-economic development since our Independence in 1960.
“I salute fellow Nigerians for the resilience of our faith in our country in the face of those challenges,” Lawan was quoted in a statement by his media aide, Ola Awoniyi.
On his part, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, while rejoicing with Nigerians, said the country has come a long way and made tremendous progress in the 62 years of her independence, noting that the citizens have a lot to celebrate despite the challenges facing them.
He said as a nation, Nigeria remains a force to reckon with in the comity of nations, calling on both the leaders and followers to remain steadfast.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, the Speaker expressed optimism that Nigeria and Nigerians would come out stronger in the face of daunting challenges, including insecurity.
Also, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has cautioned against violence and politics of bitterness in the 2023 general polls.
In a statement he personally signed to mark Nigeria’s 62nd independence anniversary, Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, asked Nigerians to be patriotic and work for the unity of the country.
He also urged Nigerians to do their best for the country regardless of partisan affiliation, adding there is no need to undermine the national purpose in pursuit of narrow gain.
On his part, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has congratulated Nigerians on the celebration of the 62nd Independence Day anniversary assuring that the nation will rise again.
Atiku in a statement by his media office in Abuja yesterday said the celebration of Nigeria’s Independence Day was an event that should reawaken citizens’ consciousness towards the consolidation of unity amongst the diverse people of the country.
The PDP presidential candidate, who said Nigeria has come a long way after her independence 62 years ago passing through different phases of challenges, noted, however, that “the democracy that we have is the requisite antidote to the current challenges that we face.”
Atiku said as the election approaches, “Nigerians should elect leaders who are individuals with proven track records of being protagonists of unity and peace.
The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on its part has urged Nigerians not to lose hope as the misrule of the “vicious, corrupt and anti-people All Progressives Congress (APC) would soon come to an end.”
PDP in a statement by Debo Ologunagba, National Publicity Secretary of the party, said it is regrettable that “Nigerians are celebrating yet another Independence Anniversary under bondage and the harrowing stranglehold of the suppressive, cold-hearted, insensitive and inhumane APC which relishes in inflicting pain and anguish on the citizens.”
The PDP noted that in the last seven years, the APC “has balkanized and dislocated the unity of our country, promoted mutual distrust among the once happy and harmonious people; created a mass of internally displaced persons; the worst since the Civil War in our country.”
In the midst of all this, the party said it is mindful of the confidence Nigerians repose in it and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, “to rescue, rebuild and redirect our nation and return her to the path of peace, national cohesion and economic prosperity.”
Ahead of today’s Independence Day celebration, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, has ordered the personnel of the force to protect all critical assets in the country and prevent any untoward situation throughout the period of the celebration and beyond.
Baba specifically directed the Strategic Police Managers comprising AIGs and Commissioners of Police in all the zonal and state commands including the FCT to ensure high visibility and confidence-boosting patrols around the venues of the celebrations.
The police chief, who spoke through the Force spokesman, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, in a statement issued in Abuja, said they should ensure the safety of residential areas and other public places to prevent infiltration by hostile elements.
He explained that the deployment of adequate personnel of the force has become imperative in order to ensure the success of all activities lined up for the country’s 62nd Independence Anniversary.
Muideen Olaniyi, Abdullateef Salau, Itodo Daniel Sule, Saawua Terzungwe, Baba Martins & Idowu Isamotu