Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has appealed to Nigerians not to undermine national purpose in pursuit of narrow gain.
This is contained in a statement on Saturday to mark Nigeria’s independence anniversary.
Today, we mark our independence as a nation. On this day 62 years ago, we set forth to determine our own way, to shape our own destiny.
The path we walk has not always been an easy or smooth one, but we walk it nonetheless because it is the road hewn by our own hands, ingenuity and aspirations.
In this complex time, it is easy to forget the struggles of those who came before us. Those Nigerian founders and nationalists who devoted themselves to making the dream of an independent and proud Nigeria a reality. But we must not forget. We commemorate this day so that our nation shall forever hold in remembrance those who won our nation’s independence. There is no way we can repay them for their patriotism except to remember them and strive to match their love of country and their sacrifice for it. Some gave not only their best years but their very lives so that Nigeria can be born. Their labour shall never be in vain!
Indeed, we have come a long way from 1960 when we gained independence. We have walked far since then. Still, the best of our national journey lies before and not behind us. Since 1999, our country has experienced 23 years of uninterrupted democracy. While, we have firmly established democracy as our way of governance, we still have work to do in perfecting our form of governance such that government will always and completely be for, of, by and because of the people. That our people live in the dignity afforded by prosperity, justice, freedom and an unyielding belief in our capacity to overcome any obstacle was what compelled our founders to strive for the independence we now enjoy.
This anniversary of our independence offers us the opportunity to take stock of how far we have come as a nation and how far we must go to achieve a better nation.
On this Independence Day, let us commit ourselves to Nigeria’s unity as well as to our collective improvement. In unity, we must see each other as brothers and sisters regardless of our ethnic, religious or regional diversity. In seeking national improvement, we must join hands in growing the economy, creating jobs, feeding the hungry, educating our youth, caring for the sick and protecting our people and their way of life from evil and misguided foes who seek to destroy all that is good.
Today, let us thank President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration for their patriotic efforts in the service of the nation. We give utmost thanks to the committed service of the brave members of our armed forces, security and law enforcement agencies some of whom have given their very lives in defence of our freedom against terrorism and violent extremism. We thank all who have dedicated their lives to public service and to the belief that this nation can be made great. We thank each and every law-abiding citizen of our great nation who dedicate their lives in the hope that Nigeria will better and more united.
Today, I speak not of politics but patriotism. The time for politics will come soon enough. But the time for and demand of patriotism never fade.
May we all seek the best for Nigeria regardless of partisan affiliation and may we never undermine the national purpose in pursuit of narrow gain.
As the nation heads toward the coming election, may we all eschew violence and recourse to divisive, incendiary politics that pull against the fabric of national unity and concord.
My running mate, party and I stand committed to a prosperous, violence-free, and democracy-filled Nigeria. I ask you all to do the same. Only by so doing, shall we honour the sacrifices and devotion of our nation’s founders. In this way, we bring a dependable promise of renewed hope to our quest for national greatness.
Thus, on this occasion of Nigeria’s 62nd Independence Day, I congratulate all Nigerians everywhere. I wish you all a memorable celebration of both peace and unity.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu