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.”
Former Chairperson of the Democratic Party in the United States, Donna Brazile, says she is confident that democracy in Nigeria will be strengthened in the 21st century.
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.”
The Senate urges President Muhammadu Buhari to declare bandits as terrorists following a recent attack in Zamfara.
6. “We condemn the statement by the Southern Governors Forum that the presidency must go to the south; the statement is quite contradictory to the provisions of the constitution.”
Governors of the 19 states in the North oppose the call by their southern counterparts seeking that the Presidency should be zoned to the South in 2023.
7. “Transmit a result electronically to show the transparency; to show that really the person you are declaring won the election is the problem.”
Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, raises an alarm over alleged plots to rig the 2023 general elections.
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”.
President Muhammadu Buhari recounts how the nation has fared so far, explaining that the last 18 months have been some of the “most difficult periods in the history of Nigeria”.
9. “No state is poor in this country; it is this over-dependence on the Federal Government.”
Governor Nyesom Wike faults governors who depend on the monthly Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), saying no state in Nigeria is poor.
10. “Let us put politics aside. What do we do as leaders? We have no leadership in Nigeria, that is the problem and the world is looking at us.”
Former Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, says Nigeria lacks the requisite leadership to tackle security challenges.
11. “We have every reason to believe that we are not dealing with just bandits.”
Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, asserts that the bandits troubling the north have aligned with terrorist organizations to wreak large-scale havoc in the region.
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.”
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State laments that people were making the COVID-19 vaccination 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.”
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, urges Nigerians not to lose hope in the country despite the challenges the nation has been confronted with.
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.”
Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, calls for the electronic transmission of election results in the country.
19. “It’s a little bit like drink driving. We probably all had a situation where we had a beer or two and thought ‘I could still drive’, but under the law, we are not allowed to drive.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says people should get vaccinated against coronavirus for the same reason they should not drink and drive, as he reveals his squad is “99 per cent” vaccinated.
20. “We are all relieved, him and me and the whole club. Every time he scores we have the feeling there is a VAR decision to take it away from him, there have been a lot of very narrow decisions.”
Thomas Tuchel encourages Timo Werner to keep improving after the Chelsea striker’s first Premier League goal since April helped seal a 3-1 win against 10-man Southampton on Saturday.
21. Impunity and injustice must be vehemently rejected if Nigeria must realize her full potentials as a prosperous nation.”
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, asks Nigerians to demand for a country that guarantees justice and fairness to all.
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.