A former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Timi Alaibe, has felicitated with Nigerians on the occasion of the country’s 60th Independence Anniversary.
Alaibe, in a statement he personally signed on Thursday, said the time had come to do some soul searching on the way forward for the country.
He said in the statement: “Congratulations! Today Nigeria—as an independent country—is 60 years old. Of course, I cannot forget that my state, Bayelsa, is 24 years old today. As a state and as a people, we may not have arrived where we should be; after all, as the cliché goes, Rome was not built in a day. However, our founding fathers will surely not be totally disappointed.
“As Nigerians, we recall our political independence on October 1, 1960. It was meant to free us all from the shackles of colonialism, give us opportunity to take our destiny as a people in our hands—to develop our minds and develop the land. Clearly, 60 years after, that dream is still in the realms of a slogan. Fulfilment is far-fetched.
“Maybe, politically, it is possible to say that we have been liberated—because we can now contest election to any office or vote for whoever we require to govern us. Our constitution grants us that liberty. But socially and economically, it has been 60 years of empty dreams with little or nothing to be proud of.
“Let’s not forget that as individuals and as a people, we must not give up. We must not resign to fate. We must not keep lamenting or complaining about what we would have been that we are not. We must not keep blaming someone else for every misfortune we have encountered. It’s time to stop the blame-game and look inward. Ambushed in each of us are potentials waiting to be invested.
“It’s time to rise and take our destiny in our hands. It’s time to ask ourselves pertinent questions and seek answers to them. For instance, if Nigeria has been independent for 60 years, we must ask ourselves—individually—how independent are our minds and spirits? How independent are our thoughts and decisions? How independent are our votes? How independent are our actions and inactions?
“Recently, the people of Edo State answered these questions in the governorship election. Wrong or right, they chose to act independently in line with their beliefs and convictions. They refused to be ambushed. Until we can also answer these questions sincerely, we would not be able to free ourselves from complaints and frustrations. We must be independent enough to think freely, act freely and decide freely. That is when our independence as a nation will make meaning to us.
“We must continuously thank God for the giving us a nation with the kind of human and material resources we have. It is our duty to harness these resources based on our God-given wisdom and end the shame and reproach we have been going through. Let’s take the risk. Let’s invest our ideas. Let’s be optimistic. Let’s not give up. Surely, things will get better.
“Let’s take consolation in what the Bible says: that weeping may fill the night, nightmares may disturb our sleep; it may sometimes look as though the end has come; but joy comes in the morning. There is always a daybreak. Let us have faith like the Psalmist: though we come face to face with the valley of the shadow of death, we will only pass through it; we will not be trapped, because God is with us.
“From the bottom of my heart, I wish all of us Happy Independence Anniversary Celebration and Happy State-Creation Anniversary Celebration. Enjoy carefully. Be law-abiding. Respect constituted authorities. Look after one another. Do not follow the multitude to do the wrong. God bless Bayelsa people. God bless Nigeria.”