By: Ben Nwoko
The Delta State House of Assembly aspirant for the Oshimili North Constituency on the platform of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM),Dr Chuks Okonji (Omelora), has called for continued national integration as Nigeria marks her 62 independence. He congratulate all Nigerians on the occasion of this year’s Independence Day anniversary and pray that our country will continue to exist in peace and unity, with continuous development across the nation.
He said that at this point in our collective history, democracy has come to stay in Nigeria. All Nigerians should see today, the occasion of our nation’s 62nd Anniversary, as an opportunity to redefine what really constitutes “the Nigerian dream.” We must rally around this dream and support leaders who are capable, competent and prepared to realise this dream for all Nigerians.
All of us must not neglect to participate in politics by leaving the political choices to only the politicians and manipulative elements who choose to invoke religious, ethnic and geo-political sentiments to impose leadership that is only supported for the purpose of serving the interests of those who put them in office.
As Nigerians, we must re-dedicate ourselves to the ideals of defining our personal interests in line with the realisation of our national objectives. Our national objectives should be to build a united, peaceful, economically strong and internationally respected nation, with a robust military, a well-motivated workforce, ambitious youth and fulfilled citizens.
“On a day such as this, it is imperative to call for a shift in the attitude and ideology of Nigeria and Nigerians as we must, as a country and as a people, exhibit the determination to tame and eliminate factors that keep the country down or retard her progress.
“The experts who at, independence in 1960, predicted that Nigeria would within its first two decades of independence become an economic giant did not make any mistakes because all the indices pointed in that direction for the nation. Over the years the dream has been derailed by the actions and inactions of both the elite and the ordinary people in the country.
“By now, we should have realized our mistakes and know that our present situation is far from what our country was destined for. It is high time we all decided that we will forget mundane issues such as ethnicity and focus on issues that unite the country, become our brother’s keeper, be law abiding and protect public property more than we protect our own.
While it is important for those in government to initiate progressive, innovative and problem solving policies, programmes and projects, particularly those that will uplift the poor in the society and create a more egalitarian society, the Nigerian people should also be ready to give maximum, patriotic and solid support for the success of the initiatives, and to demand accountability, transparency and sincerity of purpose from government.
“This is a time for all of us, citizens, to take a deep introspective look into how and why the South-East Asian countries that were in worse situation than our’s in the 60s and 70s have turned the fortune of their masses around, while things are worse for us.
“Pondering over this question will help us agree that the common point we should all subscribe to now is the one that will enable us work collectively and individually towards breaking the shackles that have limited our country.
“I firmly believe that if the economy of the country improves, most of the ills plaguing the nation like insecurity, youth unemployment, collapse of infrastructure and moral decay will disappear and a modern Nigeria will emerge as the real giant of Africa.
“I congratulate Nigerians that despite our many challenges, we have managed to remain together as a socio-political entity as we journey towards national discovery.
“I also congratulate Nigerians on the successful enthronement of democracy as a model of government in Nigeria and the role our country has played in the defence of democratic ideals around Africa.”
Nigerians should not allow government officials and politicians to continue manipulating them in pursuit of narrow interests. It is only manipulation that will allow voters to ignore the competence, experience, suitability and temperament of aspirants for public office and rather focus on where they come from and how they worship their God.
Today, as we celebrate our 62nd Independence Anniversary, Nigerians should vow that the leader who will lead the country when it is celebrating its 63th anniversary (2023) must be one who would have set this country on the path of genuine socio-economic development and political greatness.
Nigerians, we must not be complacent. Voters should be ready at all times to intervene when government starts to derail from our national objectives. Voters should intervene when government places personal and group interests above national interests. Never again, must we allow leaders who behave as emperors, maximum rulers or messiahs and their cabals to seize control of our government and its machinery.
With a vigilant citizenry that is well-informed and involved in monitoring government activities, officials and programmes, the prospect of good governance and improved standards of living for all Nigerians will be guaranteed.
Again, Happy Independence Day to my good people of Oshimili North Constituency, Deltans and my fellow Nigerians.
Sir Dr. Felix Chuks Okonji (Omelora)