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Nigeria@62: Our country is weakened by hardship, poverty – Peter Obi

Fellow Nigerians, as our dear country marks her 62nd Independence anniversary, I bring you fraternal greetings. Even as we remain thankful, prayerful and hopeful for a brighter future; we are mindful that many Nigerians are resigned, frustrated and tired of the many years of leadership failure. Many of our compatriots remain in captivity held by bandits; millions are living in IDP camps as their homes are now part of ungoverned spaces. Many Nigerian children go to bed hungry.

Such people can hardly fathom the concept of independence and freedom; let alone a valid basis for celebration. At 62, rather than celebrate our patriotism, nationhood, unity, strength and diversity, Nigerians continue to grapple with the challenges of bad governance, replete with insecurity, worsening economy, corruption, and various forms of abuse of public offices and all manners of impunity. Each new day in Nigeria, instead of heralding progress and development, our national population, already weakened by poverty and hardship, are further burdened by new forms of disruptive challenges that are inimical to the societal well being. The catalogue of our national malaise are legion, and range from intermittent collapse of our national power grid; our universities remaining shut for 8 months; soaring inflation rate, extreme poverty; insecurity and visceral violence resulting in mindless bloodletting. Our national wealth, both cash and oil are reportedly stolen each day with unfettered impunity. Nigeria bleeds literarily and figuratively.

These travails are neither measures of national greatness or good leadership. Rather, they represent overarching national interest concerns that must give us pause. They are sobering realities that ought to trigger a deep rethink of our political and leadership trajectory in the months and years ahead. As a nation and people, we cannot lose hope or give up. Intractable as our problems are, they are not insurmountable. We can easily overcome them when there is a purposeful and transformative leadership in place; one that will not makes excuses and will not be indifferent to the rule of law, equity and justice. Nigeria holds out hope of unfettered development, growth, greatness and indeed, dreams of infinite possibilities. But we must seize the moment.

We must rescue and turn our country around. It is our challenge and our duty. We, therefore, cannot ignore the present deafening clarion call for change.

Today, Nigeria is on the cusp of her national redefinition and rebirth. We are also on the eve of seminal general elections; a critical juncture of hope mixed with understandable trepidation. Yet I am convinced that our collective national fate and our faith in Almighty God, will lead us to an electoral legitimacy in 2023 that will reaffirm that sovereignty in our Republic belongs to the people; and that we can collectively usher in a new and productive Nigeria. Nigeria’s morning has come.

This is the time for Nigerians to rescue their country from the clutches of failure, rascality and corruption that have held it down for long. That is the true independence Nigeria needs. We need independence from economic brigandage,

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