2nd October, 2011
Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi has promised to restore the state back to its pace setting status as it returns to the path of development.
Senator Ajimobi who made this statement in a state-wide broadcast to mark Nigeriaâ€™s 51st independence anniversary called for concerted efforts at combating violence and crimes in the country.
The governor stated that he envisioned a state that is peaceful, caring and a purveyor of good life for the people as well as a state within a nation that is democratic, just and equitable in the sharing of the benefits and responsibilities of nationhood.
He urged Nigerians to support the efforts of the leadership at all levels at dealing with the challenges facing them as a people adding, â€œMost fundamentally, let us combat the demon of violence and crimes in our clime. We must wean our country from the hands of this unwholesome tag that is a major disincentive to growth and development.â€
Although the governor noted that the countryâ€™s democratic path was not as smooth as we envisaged, he, however, added that the challenges which confronted the country at the inception of democratic rule had started giving way, stressing, â€œthe wall of despotism and rule by force has given way to ever-improving representative democracy.â€
Further urging Nigerians to hold the relative peace in the country very sacred and deepen the confines of the peace, he added, â€œWe can do this by living peacefully with our fellow men and women and Nigeria at the centre of our interpersonal relationships.
“Our greatness as a nation derives immensely from our diverse backgrounds and orientation. We remain a model to the world in the co-existence of peoples of diverse cultural and religious colourations.
“We should not lose this on the altar of religious or cultural fundamentalism. One attribute that is vividly missing today in our dialogical relationship with Nigeria is patriotism. The moment we see Nigeria from a sacred prism, as a sacred entity which must be protected jealously, there would be a difference in our attitude to her.â€
He said, â€œRight now, many of our countrymen see Nigeria as one alien enterprise from which they are very distant and which has no bearing on their existence. We need to reverse this trend to put our march towards greatness on a surer and faster footing.
“It is this alienation from the Nigerian state, among others, that have led to the recent spate of violence that has put the country on the map of violence-ridden countries.
“Even though we have had our challenges in various forms and shapes, this new brand of violence is very alien to our cultures. Our grouses can be articulated through discourse and, periodically at the polls. This is the language of civilisation. We cannot afford to be seen to be treading a different path.â€
While congratulating the people of Oyo State on the occasion of the independence anniversary, Sen. Ajimobi acknowledged Godâ€™s benevolence in sparing their lives to witness the day.
His words: â€œthe past 51 years have been a mixture of experiences, fascinating and not so fascinating; encouraging and discouraging, plausible and condemnable.
“However, our resilience as a people in the face of monumental challenges has been encouraging and awesome. It is this resilience that has helped us to forge ahead, to this point of celebrating our 51st anniversary as a people.â€
The governor commended the spirit of nationalism and patriotism of the forebears and founding fathers who sacrificed their time, energy, well-being and even comfort, for the nationhood being enjoyed today.
By Gbenro Adesina/Ibadan