Britain’s highest court on Wednesday rejected a bid by the devolved Scottish government in Edinburgh to hold a new referendum on independence without London’s consent.
The unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court torpedoed the Scottish nationalist government’s push to hold a second plebiscite next year.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who leads the Scottish National Party (SNP), said she respected the ruling, but accused Westminster of showing “contempt” for Scotland’s democratic will.
Scotland’s government will instead treat the next UK general election due by early 2025 as a “de facto referendum” on separation, she told a news conference.
“We must and we will find another democratic, lawful and constitutional means by which the Scottish people can express their will. In my view, that can only be an election,” she added.
Outside the court, David Simpson, 70, who first voted for the SNP in 1970, said he was still hopeful of achieving independence in the future.
“This is not the end of the road,” he told AFP. “There is nothing impossible.”
Alister Jack, the UK government’s secretary of state for Scotland, welcomed the ruling.
“People in Scotland want both their governments to be concentrating all attention and resources on the issues that matter most to them,” he said.
The Supreme Court’s Scottish president, Robert Reed, said the power to call a referendum was “reserved” to the UK parliament under Scotland’s devolution settlement.
Therefore “the Scottish parliament does not have the power to legislate for a referendum on Scottish independence”, Reed said.
Sturgeon’s SNP-led government in Edinburgh wanted to hold a vote next October on the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
The UK government, which oversees constitutional affairs for the whole country, has repeatedly refused to give Edinburgh the power to hold a referendum.
It considers that the last one — in 2014, when 55 percent of Scots rejected independence — settled the question for a generation.
But Sturgeon and her party say there is now an “indisputable mandate” for another independence referendum, particularly in light of the UK’s departure from the European Union.
Most voters in Scotland opposed Brexit.
Scotland’s last parliamentary election returned a majority of pro-independence lawmakers for the first time.
Opinion polls, however, indicate only a slight lead for those in favour of a split.
At the UK Supreme Court last month, lawyers for the government in London argued that the Scottish government could not decide to hold a referendum on its own.
Permission had to be granted because the constitutional make-up of the four nations of the United Kingdom was a reserved matter for the government in London.
Scotland not Kosovo
Lawyers for the Scottish government wanted a ruling on the rights of the devolved parliament in Edinburgh if London continued to block an independence referendum.
Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain, Scotland’s top law officer, said Scottish independence was a “live and significant” issue in Scottish politics.
The Scottish government was seeking to create its own legal framework for another referendum, arguing that the “right to self-determination is a fundamental and inalienable right”.
But the Supreme Court rejected international comparisons raised by the SNP, which had likened Scotland to Quebec or Kosovo.
Reed said that international law on self-determination only applied to former colonies, or where a people is oppressed by military occupation, or when a defined group is denied its political and civil rights.
None of that applied to Scotland, the Supreme Court president said.
He also rejected the SNP’s argument that a referendum would only be “advisory” and not legally binding.
Any such vote would carry “important political consequences” regardless of its legal status, the judge said.
Sturgeon’s SNP ran in the 2021 Scottish parliamentary elections on a promise to hold a legally valid referendum after the Covid crisis subsided.
President Muhammadu Buhari has restated his commitment to ending insecurity in Nigeria.
The Nigerian leader made the pledge on Tuesday during the conferment of national awards to 490 recipients in Abuja.
“The President restated the commitment of the Federal Government, under his leadership, to root out all forms of banditry, criminality, terrorism, and insurgency in the land,” a statement by Femi Adesina, media aide to President Buhari, read.
“He reaffirmed his solemn pledge in the Independence Day address to the nation of handing over a Nigeria that is free from insecurity to the next generation of leaders.”
During his Independence speech, Buhari lamented the rate of insecurity in the country, saying he shares the pains of those affected by the development.
“As we continue to de-escalate the security challenges that confronted us at the inception of this administration, newer forms alien to our country began to manifest especially in the areas of kidnappings, molestations/killings of innocent citizens, banditry, all of which are being addressed by our security forces,” he said during the October 1st speech.
“I share the pains Nigerians are going through and I assure you that your resilience and patience would not be in vain as this administration continues to reposition as well as strengthen the security agencies to enable them to deal with all forms of security challenges.”
Buhari also said his administration has put in measures to stem the tide with improved funding of security agencies.
“At the inception of this administration in 2015, I provided the funding requirements of the security agencies which was also improved in my second tenure in 2019 to enable them to surmount security challenges. We will continue on this path until our efforts yield the desired results,” the President added.
“As we put in place all measures to ensure that Nigeria takes her place in the Comity of Nations, we recognize the importance of a well-educated populace as a panacea to most of the challenges we face.”
The United States of America pledged to support Nigeria in the fight against terrorism, insecurity, and as well as free and fair elections.
US Secretary, Antony Blinken, made the pledge in a statement on Saturday where he joined Nigerians to celebrate the country’s 62nd Independence Day.
According to him, the partnership between both countries was built on shared values of democracy, diversity, and a spirit of entrepreneurship.
“On behalf of the USA, I extend best wishes to the people of Nigeria on the 62nd anniversary of their independence,” the statement read.
“The partnership between our two countries is strong and is built on our shared values of democracy, diversity, and a spirit of entrepreneurship.
“The US is committed to supporting Nigerian efforts to counter terrorism and insecurity, improve health systems, strengthen democratic institutions, promote respect for human rights, and bolster economic growth including through bilateral trade and investment between the US and Nigeria.
“We stand with Nigeria as a democratic partner in supporting free and fair elections and value Nigeria’s leadership on global and regional issues including the fight to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We look forward to expanding our relationship over the coming year and advancing our mutual interests. The US joins in your celebration and extends our sincerest congratulations.”
As Nigerians go to the poll in 2023, a former Director-General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Joe Abah, says the next President of the country in 2023 must crush banditry and insurgency.
Many Nigerians have been killed by bandits and terrorists in the North-West, North-Central and North-East parts of the country with thousands displaced in the last 10 years. Scores have persons have also been killed in Southern Nigeria by “unknown gunmen”.
Despite repeated efforts by the Federal Government and security agencies, the marauders have continued to launch deadly attacks on worship centres, and military formations thereby killing innocent citizens, kidnapping for ransom and looting foodstuffs.
Speaking during The Platform: A Better Nigeria Is Possible organised by Covenant Christian Centre to mark Nigeria’s 62nd Independence Anniversary on Saturday, Abah decried the killings in the country.
“The first thing the new Eze Wazobia (Nigeria’s President) must do is to stop the bloodshed. He must ruthlessly crush the insurgents, the bandits and the unknown gunmen,” he said.
“He has the technology and the secret service know-how to do so. If he doesn’t, he must urgently get them. He should seek the help of other kingdoms where necessary. He must have the courage to grind them into dust without thinking about any second term.
“The current Eze finally has started to motivate our young warriors, they are willing and patriotic. Let us also pause briefly to appreciate the sacrifice they make on a daily basis on behalf of everyone.”
President Muhammadu Buhari, 79, will complete his constitutional two-term limit by May 29, 2023, and is expected to transfer power to his successor.
Currently, there are key presidential candidates jostling to succeed Buhari, with many Nigerians already getting their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) ahead of next February’s elections.
Notable among them is Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), his counterpart in the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP)
He said Buhari, who will be the Special Guest of Honour at the event, will join other world leaders and organisations to rejoice with the people of Liberia at the event with the theme: “Fostering Unity, Protecting Our Peace for Development and Prosperity.”
Accompanying the President on his trip are the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
After participating in the independence programme, Buhari is expected back in the country later on the same day, Tuesday.
Nigeria played a leading role in the stabilisation of the West African nation in the early 90s, leading to the establishment of democratic rule and has continued to assist the country in many ways especially through the Technical Aids Corps scheme.
In 2019, President Buhari was conferred with the highest national honour in the country, the Grand Cordon in the Most Venerable Order of Knighthood of the Pioneers of the Republic of Liberia, in recognition of Nigeria’s continued support for the development of the country.
See the full statement issued below:
PRESIDENT BUHARI ATTENDS LIBERIAN 175TH INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY
President Muhammadu Buhari departs Abuja Tuesday for Monrovia, Liberia, to attend the 175th independence anniversary celebrations of the country.
The President, who will be the Special Guest of Honour at the event, joins other world leaders and organisations to rejoice with the people of Liberia at the event with the theme: “Fostering Unity, Protecting Our Peace for Development and Prosperity.”
Nigeria played a leading role in the stabilisation of the West African nation in the early 90s, leading to the establishment of democratic rule and has continued to assist the country in many ways especially through the Technical Aids Corps scheme.
In 2019, President Buhari was conferred with the highest national honour in the country, the Grand Cordon in the Most Venerable Order of Knighthood of the Pioneers of the Republic of Liberia, in recognition of Nigeria’s continued support towards the development of the country.
President Buhari who will be accompanied on the trip by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, is expected back in the country later on the same day, Tuesday.
Islanders on the Pacific territory of New Caledonia voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to remain part of France in a third referendum that was boycotted by pro-independence groups, raising fears of new tensions.
With all ballots counted, 96.49 percent were against independence, while only 3.51 percent were in favour, with turnout a mere 43.90 percent, results from the islands’ high commission showed.
“Tonight France is more beautiful because New Caledonia has decided to stay part of it,” President Emmanuel Macron said in a recorded video message that made no direct mention of the boycott.
Police reinforcements have been sent to the resource-rich territory known as “the pebble”, which is of strategic importance to France and part of a wider tussle for influence in the Pacific between Western countries and China.
The boycott and crushing nature of the “No” vote will raise fears of protests as well as questions about the democratic legitimacy of the result on the archipelago, which lies 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) east of Australia.
Macron noted “the high abstention rates” but said France could be “proud” of a more than 30-year process designed to settle the islands’ status under which residents were asked in three separate referendums if they wished to break away.
Having rejected independence in 2018 and then again last year, inhabitants were called on Sunday to answer one last time whether they wanted New Caledonia “to accede to full sovereignty and become independent”.
Pro-independence campaigners boycotted the vote, saying they wanted it postponed to September because “a fair campaign” was impossible with high coronavirus infection numbers.
The result could exacerbate long-standing ethnic tensions, with the poorer indigenous Kanak community who generally favour independence staying away from polling booths on Sunday.
The wealthier white community turned out in large numbers.
“We have decided in our souls and consciences to remain French,” Sonia Backes, a senior pro-France figure, told supporters on Sunday evening.
“The sad dreams of an independence at the cost of ruin, of exclusion and misery have crashed on the reef of our pioneering spirit, our resilience and our love for our own land,” she added.
The main indigenous pro-independence movement, the FLNKS, had called the government’s insistence on going ahead with the referendum “a declaration of war”.
Noone from their side commented on the results on Sunday night.
Kanaks had also been called by their traditional community leaders to observe a day’s mourning on Sunday for those killed by the coronavirus.
Around 2,000 police and troops were deployed for the vote, which passed off largely without incident except for an attempted roadblock on an outlying island.
At stake in the vote was one of France’s biggest overseas territories which is home to about 10 percent of the world’s reserves of nickel, which is used to make stainless steel, batteries and mobile phones.
The islands are also a key part of France’s claim of being a Pacific power, with New Caledonia granting Paris rights to the surrounding ocean, as well as serving as a military staging post.
Experts suspect that an independent New Caledonia would move closer to Beijing, which has built up close economic links and political influence on other Pacific islands.
“A period of transition is beginning. Free from the binary choice of ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, we must now build a common project, while recognising and respecting the dignity of everyone,” Macron added in his message.
He added that “we will have to build a place for New Caledonia in the Indo-Pacific region which is in flux and subjected to major tensions.”
France has 13 separate overseas territories, home to 2.7 million people, which are generally poorer and have higher unemployment than the European mainland, leading to long-standing accusations of neglect.
Some such as French Polynesia have been granted large degrees of autonomy, which could serve as a model for New Caledonia.
Macron underlined how the three referenda had shown New Caledonia “remained profoundly divided” and spoke of “the necessary reduction in economic inequalities which weakens the unity of the archipelago”.
The pro-independence movement has threatened not to recognise Sunday’s result and vowed to appeal to the United Nations to get it cancelled.
The territory was largely spared during the pandemic’s first phase, but has suffered close to 300 Covid-19 deaths since the Delta variant arrived.
Some observers fear tensions could spark a return of the kind of violence last seen in the 1980s when clashes broke out between the pro-independence Kanaks and the white community.
2. “They are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions.”
Chairwoman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen speaks about the works of journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia who won the Nobel Peace Prize.
3. “Good relations with Afghanistan are good for everyone. Nothing should be done to weaken the existing government in Afghanistan which can lead to problems for the people.”
Taliban warns the United States not to “destabilise” the regime during their first face-to-face talks since the US withdrawal as a deadly sectarian bombing raised further questions about their grip on power.
4. “Though he attempted putting up some resistance when troops made efforts to take him into custody, he was not assaulted or subjected to brutalization.”
5. “Where the president comes from has never been the problem of Nigeria, and I can cite examples; neither will it be the solution. There is no such thing as a president from Southern Nigeria or a president from Northern Nigeria.”
6. “It is unlikely that our recovery from these recessions would have been as fast without the sustained government expenditure funded partly by debt.”
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, again defends recent borrowings by the Federal Government, insisting they were instrumental to the country’s exit from recessions.
7. “Why you are having separatist agitations everywhere today in the West, in the South, in the South-South, is that some people are unable to manage our diversity, that is just the fact.”
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, says there are dozens of separatist groups in the south-east region of the country because the ethnic divide has not been properly managed.
8. “We find the renewed desperation by the south to threaten [the] northern people’s right to franchise a deliberate attempt to bastardise democracy, cause greater instability in the guise of contentious undemocratic power shift arrangement and therefore unacceptable.”
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) oppose the zoning arrangement by political parties, describing it as unconstitutional and a plot to intimidate the north from contesting for the presidency in 2023.
9. “We gave them the name bandit probably to just soft pedal because terrorism in the international arena is regarded as the most heinous crime that any group of people can engage in.”
10. “The conditions make a mockery of the case pending before the ECOWAS court, and create a risk that the course of justice will be seriously impeded or prejudiced in this case.”
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), urges President Muhammadu Buhari to “urgently withdraw the impermissible conditions imposed on Twitter pending the final determination of the suit at the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja.”
11. “We face a global recovery that remains ‘hobbled’ by the pandemic and its impact. We are unable to walk forward properly.”
The IMF predicts that global economic bounce back from the Covid-19 crisis will downshift this year as countries struggle with rising prices, high debt loads and divergent recoveries in which poor nations are slipping behind wealthier ones.
12. “In developing or Third World countries, it is the escalator of strife, pogroms and civil war, and has played a big role in countries torn to pieces by tribal war, such as it is playing out in Syria, which has become the hotbed of Captagon, and Afghanistan, which controls the opium trade.”
Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Retd) says cannabis cannot be legalised in the country considering the current security challenges.
13. “Nigeria must go beyond a never-ending potential for becoming a great nation to an actually great one. Many presidents have said it. Shehu Shagari. Olusegun Obasanjo. Umaru Yar’Adua. Goodluck Jonathan. But here we are today, still just a country with potentials.”
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says the inherent potentials, which in the past have remained dormant in Nigeria, have started to be utilised.
14. “Some have expressed concern over our resort to borrowing to finance our fiscal gaps; they are right to be concerned.”
President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigerians have a right to be concerned about recent borrowings by the Federal Government.
15. “We believe that the debt level of the Federal Government is still within sustainable limits”.
16. “If you are going to get in, in the Nigerian system, in this system of ours, to walk through all that is required, I think you need some experience; a bit of it, you don’t have to be very old.”
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says age should never be a barrier for young Nigerians to get involved in holding strategic positions, especially political offices.
17. “For the majority of our people, 1960 provided an opportunity to start all over again but, unfortunately, the nationalist politicians who took over the reins of power from the British colonial regime did not decolonise the country and the psyche of our people.”
Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, insists that if Nigeria is to forge ahead in the right direction, then the citizens must be mobilised to take charge of their political destiny.
18. “I want to tell you that Mr President has the magic wand. His attitude, [and] language to the South-East; he has to change it.”
Nigeria’s 61st Independence celebration was a major focus in the passing week.
The events highlighted the journey so far, questioning what has been achieved and what needs to give way for the attainment of the nation’s desired goal.
Here are quotes made by politicians, leaders of thought and experts in various fields, within the passing week; through their words, we feel the world’s pulse as the globe’s heart beats in diverse yet similar rhythms, from one little corner to the next.
1. “I am here to tell you that just as I am certain that the United States will emerge from the struggle with our democracy, I am equally certain that Nigeria will emerge, in this century, as a model democratic country not just for Africa but for the entire world.”
2. “As far as I am concerned, there is no country on earth like Nigeria, and I know every patriotic Nigerian holds this view.”
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, calls on Nigerians to be more united for the common purpose of building a country that meets the best expectations of all Nigerians.
3. “Declaration of all bandits as terrorists may also encourage other countries to do same and help create a global consensus around dealing with transnational factors that feed the domestic activities of such proscribed organizations and individuals.”
Chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson, raises a motion on the floor, seeking to have President Buhari declare all bandits as terrorists.
4. “If the husband and wife have just adopted a baby of less than four months, then the man is entitled to paternity leave of about 14 days.”
Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Folasade Yemi-Esan, announces the Federal Government’s approval of a 14-day paternity leave for fathers with newborn babies in the country.
5. “We urge the president and commander-in-chief to declare the bandits as terrorists and urge total war against them.”
8. “Fellow Nigerians, the past eighteen months have been some of the most difficult periods in the history of Nigeria. Since the civil war, I doubt whether we have seen a period of more heightened challenges than what we have witnessed in this period”.
12. “I am saddened when I see people not protecting themselves against COVID-19. We are not making vaccination compulsory, but for now, it is the best way to protect yourselves and protect the people around you. It is so sad to see people making it a political issue.”
13. “Even in the face of the many challenges confronting us as a people and as a nation, my message to every Nigerian at this time is that we have no reason to lose hope. There is enough evidence around us of the fact that while we are not yet where we would like to be as a country and as a people, we are also no longer where we used to be.”
14. “NADECO implores the United Nations, its Security Council and other global bodies concerned with peaceful co-existence of the world to urgently fast-track their preparations to conduct variously demanded referendum to ascertain the wishes and aspirations for self-determination of the entrapped indigenous ethnic nationalities of Nigeria.”
The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) condemns the Nigerian Constitution and ask the United Nations and other international bodies to conduct a referendum in the country.
15. “Following the extensive engagements, the issues are being addressed and I have directed that the suspension be lifted but only if the conditions are met to allow our citizens continue the use of the platform for business and positive engagements.”
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday says he had given his approval for the suspension of microblogging site Twitter to be lifted once the conditions set by the Federal Government are met.
16. “The recent arrests of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, and the ongoing investigations being conducted have revealed certain high-profile financiers behind these individuals. We are vigorously pursuing these financiers, including one identified as a serving member of the National Assembly.”
Buhari reveals that a member of the National Assembly is among the high-profile individuals sponsoring the leaders of secessionist groups in the country.
17. “Where there is no confidence in the electoral management body (in our case – INEC), people will reject the results even before they are announced.”
Former President Goodluck Jonathan says the reason politicians run to the courts after elections is because they have no confidence in the electoral management body.
18. “Transmission of election results has been one of the key areas in which reckless, unpatriotic, and self-serving politicians have undermined the integrity of the Nigerian electoral process.”
22. “There is no excuse that 61 years after independence, extreme poverty is still staring the ordinary citizen in the face.”
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar says there is no reason the masses in Nigeria are battling extreme poverty when the country is blessed with an abundance of resources.
23. “Our current trials cannot draw the curtains on our story, because the vision is for an appointed time and because this country is greater than the sum of its parts and the sum of its mistakes; and because the God we serve is greater than the sum of our collective hopes and imagination, our nation will surmount our current travails and emerge in victory.”
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) states that even though there are security, economic, religious, and ethnic challenges, the collective vision of a united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria, where righteousness abounds, still abides.
The Senior Pastor of Trinity House, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo on Friday said Nigerians have not had time to sit and think as a nation.
He stated this during Channels Television’s special programme, ‘[email protected]: Thoughts on leadership,’ to mark Nigeria’s Independence Anniversary.
“Nobody at the top has had the responsibility of defining for us what Nigeria should be doing,” he said, decrying the first coup in the country which he said prevented the leaders at the time from plotting a road map for the nation.
According to him, several Nigerian leaders were either accidental leaders or had limited time to define what Nigeria should be.
“We have not really had any transition in leadership,” he added, stressing that many of the current leaders have been in governance for decades.
Consequently, he said there had been a migration from youth-minded leadership to the current situation.
He blamed the military for the failure to create the right governance mentality among Nigerians.
The Federal Government will soon release $120 million to Imo State to support the state government’s livestock programme.
Governor Hope Uzodinma disclosed this on Friday during a broadcast to mark the nation’s 61st Independence Anniversary in Owerri.
He noted that the state has also been earmarked to receive $850 million to be distributed among seven states.
“Another benefit from the visit (President Muhammadu Buhari) is that the Federal Government has graciously included Imo State as a beneficiary of its special Agric Processing Zone Project for Livestock farming,” he said.
“Out of the seven states in the country that will benefit from a Federal Government $850 million for the programme, Imo State is number two! Consequently, a whopping $120 million will soon be released to our state for the livestock programme.”
The governor explained that the Federal Government has also listed Imo as one of the states to benefit from a $1.4 billion facility secured from the World Bank for urban and rural water development.
Speaking on security, Uzodinma said relative peace has been recorded in the South-Eastern state under his administration.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari and security agencies for their “invaluable support to the state government in tackling the worst form of banditry and criminality ever witnessed in the state.”
According to the Imo governor, everyone in the state is a witness to the “savagery and cannibalistic brutality that defined the regime of violence and criminality that enveloped the state for some months in the recent past.”
Uzodinma warned that his administration will not tolerate anybody that attempts to foment trouble in the state, vowing to crush criminal elements.
He called on people of the state to support the security agencies and government by providing useful information to flush out criminals from their hideouts.
“Anybody who attempts to disrupt the peace of the state again may not live to tell the story. That is why it is important for parents and guardians to rein in their children and wards as the security agencies have our directive to deal decisively with those who may be tempted to foment trouble again.
“I have just inaugurated a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the security breaches in the state and come out with recommendations on what government should do to ensure that there is no recurrence of such.
“I believe that both the perpetrators and their sponsors would be unmasked for Imo people to know their enemies. But all of us have a collective duty to protect our state against renegades,” he added.
Oyemade, citing a recent report, said some countries (including Nigeria) have governing policies that give a negative intangible capital.
He faulted Nigerian politicians who only understand the language of power and how to sustain it, decrying the level of corruption level in the country.
“The only two things politicians – who are the decision makers – understand is how do we get to power and the second language they understand is, ‘if we are in power, how do we hold unto it?’” Oyemade said.
“This is the language and voices that politicians who can change things understand. Once they understand that these are the ideas that will make them gain power, they will implement them. It has very little to do with compassion but with power.”
Pastor Oyemade, who is the convener of the Platform, was the keynote speaker at the event.
Others speakers included the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Jumoke Oduwole; Lagos State Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Samuel Egube; and a former Chairperson of the Democratic Party (US), Donna Brazile,
Chief Economist with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Professor Fred Oyewale; the Co-founder/CEO of Indicina – a FinTech infrastructure start-up focused on Africa, Yvonne Johnson; a writer and accountant, Feyi Fawehinmi, were also part of the programme.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has observed that even though there are security, economic, religious, and ethnic challenges, the collective vision of a united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria, where righteousness abounds, still abides.
This was the summation of his remark at Nigeria’s 61st Independence Anniversary inter-denominational church service and the 45th anniversary service of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), held at the National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja on Sunday.
Osinbajo said: “we have since become the most educated and most entrepreneurial nation in Africa. Ten of our 36 States have larger economies than at least 15 African countries. From our ranks, we have the most accomplished men and women, in the arts, the sciences, in sports, in technology and commerce.”
“Our current trials cannot draw the curtains on our story, because the vision is for an appointed time and because this country is greater than the sum of its parts and the sum of its mistakes; and because the God we serve is greater than the sum of our collective hopes and imagination, our nation will surmount our current travails and emerge in victory,” the VP added.
The event tagged ‘Together, Come Let Us build’, was attended by several dignitaries, especially representatives of the National Assembly, judiciary, and members of the Federal Executive Council including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
There were also eminent religious leaders, including the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor E.A Adeboye; CAN President, Rev. Supo Ayokunle; among others.
Below is the full speech of the Vice President titled “Nigeria: The Vision Undefeated”, as released by Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity.
SPEECH DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE 61st INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY INTER-DENOMINATIONAL CHURCH SERVICE AND THE 45TH ANNIVERSARY SERVICE OF THE CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (CAN) ON THE 26TH OF SEPTEMBER, 2021 PROTOCOLS
Let me begin by delivering to the Christian Association of Nigeria, the warm felicitations of Mr. President, President Muhammadu Buhari on this occasion of the 45th anniversary of the Association.
He has asked me to commend the work of CAN especially within Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, to ensure brotherliness and peace amongst all Nigerians regardless of faith. Congratulations today on behalf of Mr. President.
I have titled my remarks today – The Vision Undefeated.61 years ago, our founding fathers laid out a vision, that the many nations and ethnicities, North and South of the Niger, 300 languages or more, differing tribes, and religions, would by the grace of God become one Nation.
That their diverse strengths and gifts would coalesce into a formidable economic and regional force. And that these united nations may become the largest aggregation of black people on earth. A beacon of hope to all peoples of African descent, long bruised by the afflictions of slavery and colonial exploitation. Nigeria will be the reaffirmation of their dignity and a tonic to their spirits.
The Lord blessed the vision and prospered the land with richness in oil, in gas, in minerals of every hue. In fruit trees, in palm trees, in crops of every kind, in savannahs and forests, arable land, seas, rivers, and the riches embedded in them.
That vision of our forebears inheres in the words of our National Motto: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.
Through the years, we worked that vision, through thick and thin. From subjection to colonial monarchy, to a sovereign republic, to civil rule to military rule. We fought a bitter war amongst brothers that cost millions of lives, and though we still wear the deep scars of those wounds, the Lord preserved the Republic.
We have since become the most educated and most entrepreneurial nation in Africa. 10 of our 36 States have larger economies than at least 15 African countries. From our ranks, we have the most accomplished men and women, in the arts, the sciences, sports, technology, and commerce.
But today, yet again, our path has been dogged by conflict; religious and ethnic, economic challenges, insurgencies and banditry, much darkness, many valleys, and many thorns. And so many ask, “can the vision of the nation united, the nation peaceful, the nation righteous and the nation prosperous yet abide?”
But the vision is not destroyed because of the many trials and tribulations, nor is the vision denied by the days when the fig tree does not blossom, or when there is no fruit on the vines; nor is the vision nullified when the labor of the olive fails, neither is the vision defeated because the flock is cut off from the fold, leaving no herd in the stalls.
The Lord God, our strength, He will yet make our feet like the feet of the deer, and we, who had been in the valley, He will make us walk on our high hills (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
Neither hailstones nor hellfire can destroy the vision because the Creator of the universe is the visioner, the One who gave the vision is the Lord of dreams. And indeed even after we have suffered for a while, this God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, will perfect, establish, strengthen and settle us. (1 Peter 5:10)
Our current trials cannot draw the curtains on our story, because the vision is for an appointed time. Our today is not our tomorrow because the vision is for an appointed time.
This country is greater than the sum of its parts and the sum of its mistakes, and because the God we serve is greater than the sum of our collective hopes and imagination, our nation will surmount our current travails and emerge in victory.
(Habakkuk 2:3) For indeed the vision is yet for an appointed time; though it tarries. But at the end, it will speak, and it will not lie. We will wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
May the Lord prosper this land, and its peoples forever, Amen. Congratulations to CAN at 45 and happy anniversary Nigeria at 61. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. God bless you all.