The President of the Senate and presidential aspirant on the Peoples Democratic Party’s platform, Dr Bukola Saraki; and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, have congratulated Nigerians on the occasion of the nation’s 58th Independence Day anniversary.
Saraki, in a statement issued on Sunday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, noted that one of the key reasons for the non-realisation of the dreams of the founding fathers who fought for the nation’s independence from the colonial government was that the citizens failed to seize control of the fortunes and future of the country.
He said Nigerians also allowed “sentiments to determine the choice of leaders and what national objectives should entail.”
The Senate President stressed the need to ensure a more vibrant, constructive and patriotic citizen participation in the governance of the country.
He said, “At this point when democracy has come to stay in Nigeria, all Nigerians should use the occasion of the 58th Independence Anniversary to redefine what should constitute the Nigerian dream, rally round that dream, support leaders who are capable and competent to realise that dream.
“Citizens should stop abandoning politics and political choices to politicians and manipulative elements who invoke only religious, ethnic and geopolitical sentiments to impose leadership; who are only supported for the purpose of serving the interests of those who put them in office.
“Nigerians should re-dedicate themselves to the ideals of defining their personal interests in line with how it helps the realisation of national objectives. Our national objectives should simply be to build a united, peaceful, economically strong, internationally respected country, with robust military, well-motivated work-force, ambitious youth and fulfilled citizens.”
The Senate President said, “As the country celebrates its 58th independence anniversary, “Nigerians should vow that the leader who will lead the country when it is celebrating its diamond jubilee anniversary must be one who would have set this country on the path of genuine socio-economic development and political greatness.”
Ekweremadu, in a separate statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwu, stated that only free, fair and credible elections could secure Nigeria’s democracy and guarantee the much-needed good governance that would restore it to the pinnacle of glory.
The deputy senate president described a rigged election as a “coup by other means” against the will of the people, which should have no place in a democracy.
He said, “As we have always known, Nigeria is one of the most endowed nations on earth but has not lived up to the promises she held at independence. For our nation to make progress, our democracy must flourish. And for our democracy to flourish, the people should be at liberty to elect leaders with the requisite character, knowledge, and pedigree, to turn the fortunes of the country around.
“Importantly, the government, stakeholders, and all institutions of democracy, especially the Independent National Electoral Commission and security agencies must respect and uphold the right of the people to exercise this franchise in a free, fair, credible, transparent, and peaceful atmosphere. They should not only vote, their votes must count as anything to the contrary is a coup by other means.”