The Senate President and People’s Democratic Party presidential aspirant, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has congratulated Nigerians on the occasion of the nation’s 58th Independence Anniversary and urged them to ensure a more vibrant, constructive and patriotic citizen participation in the governance of their country.
Saraki, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, noted that one of the key reasons for the non-realsisation of the dreams of the founding fathers who fought for the nation’s independence from the colonial government was because the citizens failed to seize control of the fortunes and future of the country while allowing sentiments to determine the choice of leaders and what national objectives should entail.
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 realize that dream.
“Citizens should stop abandoning politics and political choices to politicians and manipulative elements who invoke only religious, ethnic and geo-political 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 ideas of defining their personal interests in line with how it helps the realization 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.
“These ideals are what we should rally our people around. The people 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 he comes from, how he worships his God and how much he is ready to dole out.
“Today, as we celebrate our 58th independent 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.
“Our people should stop being complacent. The best amongst us should be the one leading the rest. Voters should be ready at all times to intervene when government is derailing from the national objectives or placing personal or group interest above national interest. Never again, must we allow leaders who behave as emperors, maximum rulers or messiahs and cabals created by them to seize control of government and its machinery.
“With a vigilant citizenry that is well informed and involved in monitoring government acitivities, officials and programmes, the prospect of good governance and improved standard of living for all Nigerians is bright and guaranteed.
“At this point, let me congratulate all Nigerians on the occasion of this year’s independence anniversary and pray that our country will continue to exist in peace, with unity among the various groups and continuous development of the various parts. Happy anniversary, Nigerians.”