AN ADDRESS PRESENTED BY SENATOR BEN AYADE, GOVERNOR OF CROSS RIVER STATE ON THE OCCASION OF NIGERIA’S 55TH INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION HELD ON 1ST OCTOBER, 2015 IN CALABAR
Fellow Cross Riverians,
Today offers us another opportunity to celebrate our nation’s Independence from her Colonial Masters.
It is therefore with much delight and honour that I address you on this historic 55th Anniversary Celebration which represents a great milestone as a sovereign nation.
As we reminisce on our undulating odyssey as a nation, we do so with mixed memories of the delicate strides we have made in the past 55 years.
No nation has ever gotten to its destination on a roller coaster; and so, ours has not been an easy ride. But today’s anniversary marks another watershed as we continue to march ahead with great hope and a refreshing optimism with our eyes cast on a sparkling horizon that is a harbinger of lush.
More significantly, today’s celebration provides us another kinetic platform to mirror our past and shape our future.
My good people of Cross River State, on a day such as this, we cannot but reflect on our pre-independence struggles and the indefatigable role played by our heroes past, culminating in our break away from the shackles of colonial domination.
As we ruminate on our nation’s chequered political journey- the tall mountains we have had to climb, the steep valleys we have had to descend, I want to urge us to remain steadfast by re-committing and re-dedicating ourselves to the values and the vision that define us as a people.
It is by so doing that we can achieve true independence for our people. One that will guarantee true freedom, good governance and total emancipation of our people in the real sense of it.
For us, we shall not relent until every Cross Riverian is indeed free from the socio-economic manacles that have held us captive to hunger and want.
My good people of Cross State, the sacrifices we make today will definitely translate into an enduring legacy for our collective future as a state.
Let us therefore continue to team together so that we can boldly face the future with renewed confidence and vigour.
Let me once again congratulate all Nigerians on the attainment of our 55 years of nationhood, as we pray God to give us all the grace and enablement to overcome the challenges of today.
But let me warn!!!!
We have gained democratic independence but today, we are still economic slaves as long as we feed on imported food, live on foreign finished homes, cloth with imported cloths, export our crude, import our refined petroleum products, import our drugs, medicine, weapons, tooth pick, singlets, sox and even under wears.
As long as we still depend on colonial technology to communicate and travel, use their instruments to know what we have in the soil, water and how to get them out, we remain slaves.
As far as our leaders continue to seek medical attention in foreign lands, send their children overseas to study, steal and stash our money in foreign lands, then we are still slaves. Slaves to our mentality, slaves to our inertia and slaves to colour.
Any political independence without economic independence is independence in paralysis.
For the youths and leaders of tomorrow, fear not but you must depart from the ways that keep us dependent. For the young adults and adults alike, we must reconstruct Nigeria and re-start with enthusiasm. Look no more to the east or to the west. Look unto God and self so as to create a New Nigeria that is truly independent both in spirit, politics and economy.
For the old, pray for our beloved country and continent that we may seek and attain true independence that must come with freedom and liberty.
I wish you all a Special Independence Celebration.
God bless Nigeria
God bless Cross River State
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