By Jonathan Ugbal
The foundation and handwork that has resulted in Nigeria remaining an indivisible nation began in the Armed Forces says Cross River’s governor Benedict Ayade with a call on Nigerians to support without reservations, the Nigerian Legion.
Ayade says the Nigerian Legion and Armed forces have contributed their quota for the sustenance of the integrity of Africa, sacrificing a lot for the peace been enjoyed today hence the need for the citizenry to support them in every way possible.
Speaking at the launching of the 2016 remembrance emblem, an occasion which signals the beginning of the Armed Forces remembrance week, the governor reminded all that everyone will eventually retire at some point and will not be happy if treated unfairly, calling on all to donate to the cause of the legion by purchasing the remembrance emblems and highlighted some of the landmark achievements of the Armed Forces.
“It is on record that the Nigerian Armed Forces fought during the First World War, Second World War, the civil war and even the insurgency that have occurred in the last few years.
“Far more important also is that the Nigerian legion and indeed the Nigerian armed forces have contributed their quota for the sustenance of the integrity of Africa. It is sad to know that despite all these efforts, it is obvious that the loved ones they have left behind have been reduced to the state of want in body and in spirit.
“That Nigeria has continuously remained as one indivisible nation, that foundation, that hard work started in the Nigerian Armed Forces. To that extent, I call on every one of us to have a solemn reflection on all the contributions of all these men and women to use this opportunity and also commemorate this special event and to say as the people of Cross River State, our hearts go with you, the widows and the young ones whom you have left behind.
“Let us all remember that at one point or the other, we shall all be retired people. For a man who has paid the supreme price so that we can stay here today in the peace you enjoy, it is indeed an opportunity for us to show love, to show care, to show sacrifice by donating, purchasing and sustaining the honourable pledge we shall give here today and to encourage everyone here to do what you can to ensure that these men and women who gave their all, youth, energy, talent, capacity and vitality for the sustenance of this nation, that they should reflect even in their greater beyond and say that Nigeria has made us proud.
“Let us therefore use this opportunity to purchase these emblems with the generosity of the heart, with the reflection of the biblical injunction that you must give to the needy. These are not people who are just needy, these are people who deserve what they ask for today. The peace we enjoy today is the reflection of what all of these people have sacrificed, and therefore we must continue to sustain peace.”
He also charged all to support the government of President Muhammadu Buhari “to ensure that Nigeria remains stable to play the leading role in Africa. Africa must indeed be strong and can only be strong in the face of unity” adding that, “we must support the present government to ensure that all its agenda particularly the emphasis on human capital and social development comes to pass.”
Reviewing upward the state’s annual contribution to the legion from 3 million to 5 million Naira, Ayade also donated 2 million on behalf of his wife and self and a further 1 million Naira as the governor, arguing that “the donations are not emotional but reasonable, there are not sentimental but logical. It is only a reality in life that when a man that has put in so much to make you what you are becomes weak and feeble, when he can no longer stand, that is the time that he will find a shoulder to lean on. All of us must provide this shoulder, it is Afrocentric, it is biblical, it is an injunction we must all honour.”
Earlier the state chairman of the Nigerian Legion, Colonel Timothy Ushie (rtd) appealed to the government to prevail on local governments to make returns on the sale of emblems, preserve the cemeteries where their colleagues lost during the first, second world wars and the civil war are buried which governor Ayade pledged to do.
The event which held Thursday, at the Cultural Center Complex in Calabar attracted heads of security agencies in the state, past and serving government functionaries among others.
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