By Joy Okosieme
As Nigeria marks 63 years of independence from British colonial rule, its ability to whether storms of adversity has been commended.
Ireti Kingibe, the Senator representing the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) on the platform of Labour Party (LP), noted in an Independence Day message that few nations could withstand the kinds of pressures, crises and challenges Nigeria has face since 1960, and still remain as one corporate indivisible entity.
Senator Kingibe said it was remarkable that despite a regrettable civil war which raged for over three years, a plethora of religious, communal and religious conflicts, successive generation of Nigerians have ensured that the dream of the nation’s Founding Fathers to bequeath to posterity one nation bound together by the ideals of unity, peace, tolerance and respect for law and due process, remained on course.
“Over the course of the last six decades, we have challenges that would have splintered or perhaps even obliterated other nations. Indeed, we are witnesses to the fact that many nations, which thrived at the turn of the 20th Century have disappeared of the map of the world to be replaced by small and less cohesive entities. The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia are two prime examples. Indeed, in the 20th Century nations across the globe experienced internal tremors and distortions with many of them unable to inhere and indivisible corporate entities. Even now in this century, many totter on the brink of extinction. Nigeria by contrast, has stoically weathered the storms of adversity and remains determined to overcome its many challenges. We have consistently defeated the centrifugal forces and elements, which have again and again, sought to drive a wedge between our peoples. Our strength has been our resilience and collective resolve to see our ethnic and religious diversity as building blocks for national unity and cohesion rather than drawbacks”, Senator Kingibe said.
She noted that it is in Nigeria that the phrase, “safety in numbers…” finds its fullest expression.
“Our population has been our strength. In addition to providing the needed manpower for national development, it has provided an added advantage of making us a regional and continental power, a fact that has kept our neighbours away mischief”, she stated.
Senator Kingibe said we must continue to leverage on the size of our population to help the nations overcome its many developmental challenges.
“Given our size and the plenitude of natural resources God has blessed us with, we must like China and India, two nations with populations far outstripping our now, turn our numbers to advantage. God has positioned us to play a leading role on the African continent; we must rise to the occasion but we cannot do so without rising to our full height else we’ll be nothing but a giant on spindly legs”, Senator Kingibe stated.
Admonishing political, ethnic and religious leaders on the need for temperance in conduct and utterance, she reminded that leadership is a burden and a sacred mandate that must be discharged with the deepest sense of responsibility.
“Each time I muse on leadership, I am reminded of one pithy saying in the late Prof. Ola Rotimi’s, “The Gods Are Not to Blame”, where one of the characters noted that when the mother cow eats grass, her young ones watch her mouth. There is no doubt that this clearly mirrors our current situation. Whatever we do as leaders, reflects on our youths and children. As leaders, we must lead by example. We must point the way forward to moral rectitude and civilized conduct else we will be sowing the seeds of the destruction of our society”, she noted.
Senator Kingibe urged Nigerians to count their blessings on the occasion of this national adversary noting that whatever the situation is presently, it could be worse but God in his mercy had continued to hold us together.
“It must be for a reason that we are still standing despite the seeming enervating challenges. The writer, Franz Fanon once admonished that every generation must out of relative obscurity, seek to discover its mission, and then fulfil it or betray it. This is a decision we are all called to make”, she stated.