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•Says Nigeria’s progress depends on citizens’ support
.Uzodimma urges Nigerians to maximise their unity
..Insists sit-at-home order won’t be tolerated in Imo
Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike says it is regrettable that 61 years after independence Nigeria is still grappling with leadership challenge.
The governor pointed out that because of such leadership failure, Nigeria is now at a point in its history needing God more than ever.
Governor Wike made the assertion at the Interdenominational Church Service organised in commemoration of the 61st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria that held at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
The governor stated that there is hardly anything for Nigerians to celebrate as the country marks 61st Independence anniversary because its leadership continues to entrench hatred, mediocrity, promote ethnicity and religion.
“This is the time that Nigeria needs God more. The country is gone. Insecurity everywhere. Everyone needs to say God, we need you because man’s leadership has failed this country.
The governor noted that perhaps the only thing Nigerians can boast celebrating is the existence of the name Nigeria.
“At 61 years, Nigeria is full of enmity, full of divisions, hatred, ethnicity. A country that cannot put themselves together.
“Everybody has responsibility, so ask yourself questions, have I done my own part?
Governor Wike also observed the sorry state of Nigeria and said at 61, it is far removed from being a country that can compete favourably with prosperous countries of the world, given its abundant resources.
The governor bemoaned what has become of the nation’s legislature that continues to approve anything for the presidency and not minding the consequences.
He also decried how the nation’s judiciary has succumbed to intimidation because its judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear. He wondered what fate Nigerians will have under such seeming tyrannical atmosphere.
“We cannot do the right things. Other countries are talking about how their elections will be transparent, we are talking about how we will rig the election in 2023.
” Simple thing, transmit election results electronically to show transparency, that really that the person you’re declaring won the election but we are afraid.”
“Where is the legislature. A legislature that cannot think, a legislature, anything they bring is right, a legislature that can not say that Nigeria has nothing to regret from conducting free and fair election.
“A legislature that you’ll close your eyes, anything they bring, about borrowing, you say borrow. A legislature that cannot say that this money we are borrowing where is it, where are you applying it? You have no confidence to ask questions.
“The courts have been intimidated. The judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear. You’re seeing something that is wrong, but because you will be summoned in the night, you abandoned your responsibility.”
Governor Wike also blamed the woes the country has suffered on all Nigerians who have refused to do the right things, but rather allowed the wrong things to be perpetrated in all facets of the society.
He noted how ascendancy to leadership is no longer by merit but by ethnic affinity and religious consideration, even when such person does not have the capacity required to function in such office.
Speaking further, Governor Wike berated the church leadership over the inordinate dressing of a young man that he saw in the church. The governor Wike attribute such sight to a lack of discipline enforced in the church.
In his sermon, Bishop of the Diocese of Niger Delta North, Rt. Rev. Wisdom Ihunwo noted that only foolish people despise God and attribute their successes in life to their personal efforts and ingenuity .
Bishop Ihunwo said such foolish people abound in Nigeria because they have hearts of corruption, treat humanity with disdain and delight in doing abominable things and divert public funds for personal use.
According to Bishop Ihunwo, it is baffling that despite having leadership over the country, there is unabated spree of killings, a seemingly thriving kidnapping business with some officers of the nation’s military killed without drastic measures taken to return Nigeria to the path of sanity.
While charging the church to rise to speak courageously against the wickedness in the land, Bishop Ihunwo declared the judgement of God upon the sponsors of such killings and kidnapping that have put Nigeria in a pitiable state that its people cannot celebrate the independence of the country at 61 years.
Special prayers were said at the service for God’s favour and grace upon Nigeria and its Leaders, Rivers State Executive Council, Judiciary and the Legislature, for Governor Wike and his family, the Church and its leaders.
Meanwhile the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Sunday charged Nigerians to work toward the prosperity of the country, saying Nigeria could be on the path of progress if the citizens continue to display fairness, equity and justice.
He gave the advice on Sunday at the 61st national Independence Day Celebration service held at the Chapel of Christ The Light, Alausa, Ikeja, which was attended by his wife, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu; the Chief of Staff, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, members of the State Executive Council as well as religious leaders in the State.
Governor Sanwo-Olu who described the theme of the service ‘Righteousness exalts a nation’ as apt, said building a nation is about people doing the right things not only once but all the time.
He said: “We know Nigeria is going through a lot. We know that our country is going through turbulent times in our polity, management of affairs, security challenges, pandemic, unemployment, inequality, inflation and issues that are ravaging the entire world and also affecting us. But in all of these, God remains God and He will continue to stay and abide with us.
“We all need to come together. Like the Preacher said on the pulpit, ‘Righteousness exalts a nation’ is all about doing the right thing not only once but doing well all the time. It is not about Mr. Governor. It is not about the commissioner. It is about all of us. It is about ensuring that we have good conduct and continually display fairness, equity and justice as people and as a nation.
“We need to admonish and encourage ourselves that as we celebrate our 61st anniversary as a nation; it is time for each and every one of us to play our parts. We are all in it together. When Nigeria prospers, we will also prosper. We need the prosperity of Nigeria; we need the prosperity of Lagos for each and everyone one of us to prosper. This is our nation and if the land prospers, we the people will prosper.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu while stressing his administration’s commitment toward delivering on his campaign promises, said Lagos will do more if the State is allowed to collect the Value Added Tax.
“We should ensure there is equity and fairness and that is why we talk about issues around VAT. We know and we believe that if Lagos gets more, we would do more. If Lagos can get a lot more, we will a do a lot more because that is what we deserve; that is what is expected, that is what is required and that is what we are committed to.
“Year in, year out; your government implements over 90 percent of the budget. What it means is that if we have the capacity to get more, we will be able to give more to the citizens.
“I want to assure you that this government, your government will leave no stone unturned to ensure that we don’t shy away from our primary objective and responsibility, which is the security of life and property.
“As a Governor, I will do everything with every strength that I have to ensure that we set this State on a path of prosperity because I want each and every Lagosian to prosper. I will ensure that we create a Lagos that will work for the people of the State so that our tomorrow can be better than today.”
Also speaking, the Bishop of Lagos Mainland Diocese, Rt. Revd. Akinpelu Johnson, urged Nigerians to allow righteousness to reign in the country.
Bishop Johnson also called for a new constitution that will guarantee equity and justice for all the citizens of Nigeria.
He commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for his performance in the office within two years, especially in the area of infrastructure, considering how the incumbent administration is carrying out projects simultaneously in different parts of Lagos State.
The Bishop also hailed Governor Sanwo-Olu for successfully managing the COVID-19 pandemic in Lagos State.
Also, the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma has congratulated Nigerians on the 61st Independence Anniversary of the country and urged them to maximise the things that unite them for a greater Nation.
The governor spoke on Sunday while addressing the congregation at a special Church Service at the Government House Chapel, Owerri ahead of Nigeria’s Independence Day Celebration on Friday, October 1, 2021.
Governor Uzodimma reiterated his believe in the unity of Nigeria and called on all Nigerians and Imo State citizens in particular to “eschew bitterness, rancour, sentiments and emotions, drop all the differences in us and maximize those things that unite us for a greater Nigeria.”
He called on the leadership of the country at all levels to “think of a greater Nigeria by tackling governance in the best way that will benefit our people.”
The Governor, who has just returned from a week-long official visit to Abuja to follow up on approvals arising from President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Imo State recently told an elated audience that the trip yielded a lot of benefits to the State.
The benefits from the Presidential visit, the Governor informed include, the President’s approval for the installation and conversion of Otamiri River to a Dam capable of powering a10 mega watts plant that can generate electricity when completed and help improve water supply in the State. He said it was a fallout from the Balloon driven technology underground tunnel which Mr. President commissioned.
Also, the Governor announced that another gain from his follow-up visit to Abuja is the visitation by Vice President Prof. Yemi Osibanjo to Imo State on October 15 to administer the N12billion empowerment programme to the private sectors, traders, artisans and vulnerable groups as approved by the President for Imo State citizens.
Furthermore, the Governor also hinted that the Federal Government has graciously included Imo State as a beneficiary of her special Agric Processing Zone Project for Livestock and out of the seven States in the country that the Federal Government is billed to spend $850 million, Imo State is Number two and will get a whooping $120million.
Besides, the Governor told an elated congregation that the Federal Government under the leadership of President Buhari has secured $1.4billion facility from the World Bank for Urban and Rural Water development and that Imo State is one of the States approved from the Six geopolitical zones in the country to benefit from the programme, representing the South East Geopolitical Zone.
Governor Uzodimma also explained the position of the State on the oil wells located in Imo State that were ceded to Rivers State for about 20 years now.
He said though the boundary adjustment Committee through boundary demarcation had given back the oil wells to Imo State, the Rivers State Government had taken the matter to the Supreme Court, all in an effort to continue to deny Imo State what belongs to her.
Governor Uzodimma expressed disgust that even when some of the wells are located in local Governments in Imo State such as Ejemekwuru in Oguta LGA, yet River State, in collaboration with some selfish elements from Imo State who are benefiting from the scam, are bent on turning the table against Imo State.
The Governor however expressed confidence that “Imo State will eventually get justice at the Supreme Court and get back what belongs to her,” and that the State will be receiving additional N8billion monthly from Federal Allocation.
On the challenges the State had when he came into office which include her inability to borrow from banks, treasury bills and other financial institutions, the Governor noted that “the Debt Management Office has passionately considered Imo State and moved her from 16% borrowing threshold to 40% borrowing capacity which allows her to discuss with the Financial Institutions on the way forward.”
Governor Uzodimma reiterated his earlier resolve to discourage over taxing of Imo people and reassured that “when things get better only those with genuine businesses and higher income will be taxed while those with little or nothing will be left out of the tax book.”
Sadly, the Governor expressed disgust with the activities of kidnappers in the State who are on rampage and making Imo people uncomfortable and urged the people to go about their normal businesses as there is enough security to guarantee their safety.
He also warned that there is no sit at home order in Imo State, whether on Monday or any other day and advised the people to go about their legitimate businesses without fear of molestation.
However, he acknowledged the efforts of security agencies in the State towards securing lives and property and enjoined them to put more efforts and “go after all criminals, especially the kidnappers no matter where they are,” noting that “a criminal is a criminal any day, anytime.”
He thanked Imo people for believing in his Government and expressed delight that they are beginning to understand what he and his administration stand for.
The Church Service was attended by Service Chiefs in Imo State, Tope government officials, traditional and religious leaders ad well as captains of industry and other critical leaders in the State.
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