———-By Unue Emeka,———–
AS Nigeria marks the 57thIndependence Anniversary, Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has tasked Nigerians especially the elites to rededicate themselves to the progress and growth of the country.
Governor Okowa who spoke at a well-attended Interdenominational Thanksgiving Service to commemorate the event and also, Independence anniversary that featured cultural dances and parades by military and para-military organisations on Sunday, in Asaba, said Nigeria’s independence was a product of sustained struggle by its founding fathers.
The ceremony was attended by the wife of the Governor, Dame Edith Okowa, Deputy Governor of Delta State, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, Senators James Manager and Peter Nwaboshi, Mrs, Amaechi Mrakpor and Victor Nwakolo of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, Speaker of the State House Of Assembly, Chief Judge of Delta State, Justice Marshal Umukoro, President, Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Stella Oghene, Traditional Rulers, Religious leaders and top government functionaries.
“The pride of belonging to an independent country imposes a huge responsibility on us, and we, particularly the elites, have extra responsibility to dedicate our services and lives to the progress of the nation.”
The Governor added, “today, we are gathered to celebrate this great national event, the 57thindependence anniversary of our dear country, it was a product of sustained struggle by the founding fathers of this great country and it is a thing of joy that our President, Muhammadu Buhari is doing a lot to keep the country as one indivisible and progressive nation that can take its pride of place among comity of nations.”
He emphasised, “this celebration affords us the opportunity to make a critical analysis of our progress so far and to reinvigorate us to tackle new and unfolding challenges by drawing lessons from both our strengths and weaknesses.”
The Governor reiterated, “We need to rededicate ourselves to the service of this great nation.”
While commending Deltans for their patience, steadfastness and commitment despite the economic recession that hit the country, Governor Okowa used the occasion to reassure the people of his administration’s commitment to deliver on its prosperity agenda for all Deltans.
According to him, “I urge you to remain resilient; we should not be consumed by our petty differences; rather, we should be united by our common humanity, because we are stronger together, no part of the State is more special than the other, together, we can make progress with our collective efforts and work towards the Delta State where we should all be proud to belong.”
The Governor observed that traditional rulers, religious leaders, opinion leaders, civil society groups, the media and other stakeholders in the Nigeria project have played vital roles in sustaining the country urged the people to jealously guard the democratic institutions.
“Your incisive criticisms and counsel have helped to stabilise the polity and stay the hands of those who would have either abused or exploited the unfettered freedom that democracy affords citizens of the country,” the Governor asserted.
At the service, the Guest Preacher, Snr. Apostle Sylvanus Okorote in a sermon titled “Nigeria’s Dryness Is Over,” said that the economic recession is over but the country needs to manage to continue to stay out of the recession and ensure growth.
The occasion witnessed march past by the police and other para-military agencies and traditional dances from various groups in the state.