As Nigerians mark the 61st Independence Anniversary of the country on Friday, the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan and his deputy, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, have urged them to remain united and renew their patriotism for the progress and development of the country.
The presiding officers of the upper legislative chamber gave the appeal in separate messages to felicitate with Nigerians on the occasion.
Lawan specifically urged the people to continue to keep faith with their fatherland, saying: “This is the first year of our seventh decade as a nation and also the second year of the third decade of the Fourth Republic.”
“I find it remarkable that we are living in the longest era of democracy in our history as a nation. That may seem modest as an achievement but it is an additional cause for celebration in the light of our political experience.
“Every patriot will always remember with pride that historic moment on October 1, 1960 when the British Union Jack was lowered and our Green-White-Green flag hoisted in its place.
“That moment symbolizes our attainment of freedom from colonial rule. But it also marks the beginning of the onerous task of building a united, peaceful and prosperous nation that we set for ourselves.
“Over six decades on, the journey has been eventful and the challenges enormous. But we can be proud of the progress that we have made, draw lessons from the missteps and rededicate ourselves to our historic mission of nation-building. We should never abandon that mission.
“Our founding fathers encountered difficulties from the diversity of our people and country. But they realized that the feature is not unique to us and so they wisely embraced it as a potential source of strength.
“That is why they resolutely bound us into an indissoluble union. They had a dream of a diverse, united and prosperous Nigeria as a beacon of hope to Africa and the entire Black World.
“We must keep the torch of that dream of our founding fathers burning and hand it over to the next generation of Nigerians.
“The founding fathers got nothing on a silver platter. Their dream of a glorious future for Nigeria inspired them in confronting the challenges of their time.
“That great heritage is what we are celebrating today. We must preserve and pass it to the coming generations,” the Senate President stressed in the message signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi.
According to Lawan, “the National Assembly is determined to facilitate a meaningful review of the Constitution by the people, to ensure that the instrument continues to serve its purpose and to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.”
“A people-oriented Constitution will address the frictions that we are currently witnessing and this is why the National Assembly is taking this national assignment very seriously.
“We already have a consensus on democracy as the best form of government for us as a people. So, we should all get actively involved in its processes.
“The National Assembly will always provide the necessary legislative interventions to strengthen the processes and encourage popular participation.
In his own message, Omo-Agege called for oneness and renewed patriotism from all Nigerians, saying they must unite behind the national flag, set aside the narrative of division, violence and hate, and replace them with the narrative of peace and unity.
The Deputy Senate President, in the message signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yomi Odunuga, expressed belief that the country would surmount its present challenges and emerge stronger.
Omo-Agege harped on the need for citizens to demonstrate unity and love towards one another in order to achieve a better society.
He said: “Independence anniversary not only offers us an opportunity to give thanks to God for preserving us despite the challenges but also a time to reflect on how we, as citizens and leaders, can contribute to strengthening our country, uphold peace and harmony and embrace the common humanity that shines so brilliantly through our diversity.
“Although we are passing through a myriad of challenges, nothing is insurmountable if we set our minds to it. With our never-say-never attitude, we can surmount our present challenges.
“I call on all Nigerians to renew faith with Nigeria as we commemorate another Independence anniversary.”
Omo-Agege, who chairs the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, revealed that the panel’s report would be presented anytime soon.
According to him, the focus of the Committee is how to manage the exercise in a fair, inclusive and transparent manner to meet the expectations of most Nigerians.
“We have made far-reaching recommendations on the 17 thematic areas under review. Very soon, our report would be presented for consideration,” he said.
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