A cross section of Nigerians in the North-East have expressed optimism that in spite of the challenges, the future of the country was still bright.
Speaking their minds on the country’s independence anniversary, they noted that Nigerians had every cause to celebrate 55 years of being together as brothers and sisters.
They said although the journey had not been smooth all through the 55 years, Nigeria was able to surmounted challenges that most other African countries would not have survived.
Alhaji Gambo Magaji, a retired Federal Permanent Secretary and one time Secretary to Bauchi State Government, said that 55 years of the country’s existence as a corporate entity, was worth celebrating.
He said that physical and human developments had taken place, adding that it struggled to gain independence from colonial masters, to become a country reckoned with among comity of nations.
According to him Nigeria has been playing an important role in Africa and the world, participating in peace keeping missions.
“Anybody who has not read history will not appreciate the fact that the Independence Day is worth celebrating,” he said.
He however said that there was still room for further advancement in terms of development in spite that the economic down-turn was a global phenomenon.
He noted that the problem of Nigeria was lack of dedicated leadership, but added that with the level of dedication of the present administration, things had started taking shape.
Alhaji Muhammad Kachallah, 80 year old retired civil servant in Damaturu, described Nigeria as a unique country that had survived numerous threats of disintegration.
“Nigeria has survived series of military coups, civil war, religious, political and ethnic crises, from the First Republic to date, but has remained a united country,” he observed.
Usman Abubakar, an ex-service man in Damaturu,who fought the civil war said “although Nigeria had problems, past leaders should be commended for keeping the country united.
“The civil war experience was bad; I pity those singing war songs now because most of them were not born to witness the civil war; nobody in his right frame of mind will call for war” the veteran soldier said.
Meanwhile, a cross section of Nigerians in Damaturu, have urged Nigerians to concentrate on issues that would promote peace and unity of the country.
Mr Obioka Simon, a Nigerian from South East geo-political zone living in Damaturu, said Nigeria had great opportunities and potentials under the President Buhari administration, to foster unity among the citizens.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is on a selfless service to the nation and has the passion to see Nigeria overcome its challenges
“I think we should be fair to him and support him in rebuilding Nigeria, for us and generations yet unborn,” he said.
For Alhaji Idris Maiunguwa, the Vice President (Arable 1) of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, the key to Nigeria’s advancement was encouraging investment in agriculture.
Maiunguwa told NAN in Hadejia town of Jigawa that such move was necessary to diversify the economy, reduce dependence on oil revenue, provide job opportunities and enhance wealth creation in the society.
He said that there was need for effective agriculture development policies to achieve sustainable development in the sector.
“After 55 years of nationhood, we neglected agriculture and the country is exposed to series of social and economic problems.
“We must develop agriculture to enhance effective utilisation of human and natural resources, to make Nigeria one of the strongest economies,” he advised.
The AFAN vice president also called on the government to review the agriculture loan scheme to enable easy access to the facility.
Maiunguwa explained that over the years, small holder farmers could not access the facility due to the cumbersome processes laid down by the credit lending banks.
Also commenting, Alhaji Fahad Muhammad, a former Chairman, Jigawa State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), tasked media practitioners to abide by the ethics of the profession, to promoting peace and unity in the country.
Muhammad said that the media had a greater role to play in nation building, hence the need to abide by the ethics of the profession to attain peace and stability in the country.
Muhammad stressed the need for the media to support the anti-graft crusade and other programmes initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, to move the country forward.
“It is the duty of the media to spearhead the anti-corruption campaign and work towards ensuring good governance at all levels.” he said.
A civil society activist in Dutse, Mr Muhammad Haske, advised Nigerians to reflect back on the sacrifice made by the founding fathers, and work towards uplifting the nation to greater height.
“We should emulate the former leaders, who worked selflessly for our independence from the colonial administration.
“There are positive lessons to be learnt from their deeds that will enable us achieve sustainable social and economic development in the country,” he said.
A retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police in Gombe, Abubakar Adamu, observed that Nigeria as an entity, had made a lot of progress in the last 55 years.
Adamu said that what was essential now, was for the people to consolidate on the gains of the past, and address the few grey areas.
He specifically stressed the need to give the security and agriculture sectors, priority, as the two were the bedrock of the development of any society. (NAN)