CROSS RIVER, Nigeria – Nigerians in Cross River State on Tuesday shunned the 59th Independence Anniversary.
According to our correspondent, who was at the U. J. Esuene Stadium, venue for the celebration, observed that the greater part of the stadium was empty.
However, the Nigeria Police, primary and secondary schools as well as some private organization including the red cross, boys brigades, girls guides and others participated in the event.
Also present were the Deputy Governor, Prof Ivara Esu, Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Eteng Jonah Williams, Chief Judge of Cross River State, Justice Michael Edem, Chief of Staff to Governor Ayade Martins Orim and Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Barr Tina Banku Agbor.
Speaking, the State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade who was represented by his deputy, Prof Ivara Ejemot Esu said, “Instructively, as we celebrate today, we cannot say with absolute conviction that, 59 years down the line, it has been a bed of roses.
“At best, it has been a potpourri, at times chequered, disappointing, hard and fraught with challenges that so often dulled our spirits. In spite of those dispirited moments though, there have been sparkling times that we have radiated so much national pride as a people, following our chain of accomplishments as a nation.
“And against all odds, we have continued to bounce back, to rediscover ourselves by staying focused, steadfast and optimistic. Conscious of the fact that no nation has ever berthed on a roller coaster or fulfilled its destiny without sweat, we cannot, therefore, as a country, afford to take our eyes off the ball.”
Prof Ayade pointed out that “today’s anniversary marks another turning point as we continue to soldier on with audacity of hope, a refreshing optimism and the spirit of enterprise.
“And with our minds firmly fixed on the ever-glittering skyline, we shall sure chart a pathway to our destination. More poignantly, today’s celebration should no doubt serve as reawakening and an enticing platform to reflect on our past in order to recalibrate our future.
“As we ruminate on our nation’s socio-political trajectory-the tall mountains we have had to climb, the steep slopes we have to descend, I want to enjoin you to remain resolute by re-committing and re-dedicating ourselves to the enduring values and vision that distinguish us as truly Cross Riverians.
“For it is only by such distinguishing attributes that we can achieve true independence as a people, one that will guarantee true freedom, good governance and total emancipation in the real sense of it.
“There is no doubt that while our today is steadily finding perfect harmony with our great expectations as a people, with our rapid industrialization policy, we remain highly optimistic that given our great energy and potentials to flourish, we will and surely weave our determination to precision and berth a better tomorrow.”
Prof Ayade further said that “As we advance closer and closer to attaining that tomorrow of our dreams, we need not only align, but must pull together, to shrug off tendencies and avoid structures that accentuate our fault lines.
“As an administration, we came with a clear focus to restructure and recalibrate the economy of our state. In line with that emphasis, we have been able to create a new economy that is anchored on industrialization and agricultural development with a huge potential to create jobs and lift our people out of excruciating poverty.
“For us as an administration, we shall not relent until we ensure that every Cross Riverinas is indeed rescued and clawed back from the socio-economic quagmire that has held us captive to hunger and lack.”