The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has urged Nigerians to unite for the progress of the country and continue to keep faith with their fatherland.
Lawan, in a message, felicitates all Nigerians on the occasion of the 61st Independence Anniversary of the country.
“This is the first year of our seventh decade as a nation and also the second year of the third decade of the Fourth Republic.
“I find it remarkable that we are living in the longest era of democracy in our history as a nation. That may seem modest as an achievement but it is an additional cause for celebration in the light of our political experience.
“Every patriot will always remember with pride that historic moment on October 1, 1960, when the British Union Jack was lowered and our Green-White-Green flag hoisted in its place.
“That moment symbolizes our attainment of freedom from colonial rule. But it also marks the beginning of the onerous task of building a united, peaceful and prosperous nation that we set for ourselves.
“Over six decades on, the journey has been eventful and the challenges enormous. But we can be proud of the progress that we have made, draw lessons from the missteps and rededicate ourselves to our historic mission of nation-building. We should never abandon that mission.
“Our founding fathers encountered difficulties from the diversity of our people and country. But they realized that the feature is not unique to us and so they wisely embraced it as a potential source of strength.
“That is why they resolutely bound us into an indissoluble union. They had a dream of a diverse, united and prosperous Nigeria as a beckon of hope to Africa and the entire Black World.
“We must keep the torch of that dream of our founding fathers burning and hand it over to the next generation of Nigerians.
“The founding fathers got nothing on a silver platter. Their dream of a glorious future for Nigeria inspired them in confronting the challenges of their time. That great heritage is what we are celebrating today. We must preserve and pass it to the coming generations.
“If our founding fathers had succumbed to the challenges that they encountered in their pursuit of independence, we would not today have a great country to celebrate. They faced their challenges and prevailed.
“Our challenges today are numerous but they are not insurmountable. If we face them like our founding fathers faced those of their time, the coming generations will also accord our memories their gratitude.
“Our political, religious and traditional leaders as well as influencers of opinions across the country need therefore to unite their purpose and energy for the good of our dear nation.
“As issues arise, let us use the right channels to address them in the true spirit of democracy. Nigeria belongs to all its citizens, not to some more than others.
“It is in this regard that I will again encourage all Nigerians to take advantage of the ongoing process of constitutional review at the National Assembly.
“The National Assembly is determined to facilitate a meaningful review of the Constitution by the people, to ensure that the instrument continues to serve its purpose and to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.
“A people-oriented Constitution will address the frictions that we are currently witnessing and this is why the National Assembly is taking very seriously this national assignment.
“We already have a consensus on democracy as the best form of government for us as a people. So, we should all get actively involved in its processes.
“The National Assembly will always provide the necessary legislative interventions to strengthen the processes and encourage popular participation.
“For instance, we are about to harmonize the positions of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the Electoral Reform Bill. We are confident that the Bill will enhance the improvement that we have continued to see in our electoral process.
“Let us keep faith with Nigeria and continue as one people to work for our collective security and prosperity. May God continues to bless Nigeria,” Lawan says.