The event of this year’s Independence Day is coming at a time when the country is at a crossroads in many aspects of our national lives.
Sixty-three years ago, when this great country acquired independence, it was upon the promise of abundant prosperity and the principle of social justice.
As a nation, we have continued to struggle to manifest the dreams of our founding fathers in upholding the promises of shared prosperity and social justice.
We have encountered great moments when the flag of our dear country flew tall on the global stage through the industry of our sportsmen and women, the prolific distinction of our academia and the top-notch artistry of Nigerian talents in the global music scene.
The talents and doggedness of young Nigerians who have refused to give up on the country are the inspiration for the greater future that we celebrate today.
The energy of the Nigerian youth is a formidable force in the consternation of manpower and skills that power the global economy.
Across the globe, and in various fields of human endeavour, the youth of this country have proven to have the competence to rival any of their peers from any part of the world.
That success – the gallantry of our youth – is the primal element of what we celebrate today as a nation.
Therefore, for me, the challenge before us all is ensuring that the political leadership in the country that we call home should be worthy of our pride as a people and not of telling embarrassment.
Our democracy has triumphed so far due to the fidelity of our conviction that a democracy when properly nurtured, should bring out the best in us and of us.
As Nigerians, we are all not unfamiliar with the hardships in the economy, security, and other vital aspects of our society.
While I enjoin us all to submit our strengths in faith to the Almighty God, we must be prepared to do our best to pull the country back from this point of uncertainty to a place of common safety.
I congratulate fellow Nigerians, alongside friends and well-wishers of our dear country across the globe, and wish you a happy Independence Day.
God bless you all, and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Vice President of Nigeria (1999-2007) and Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (2023)
30th September, 2023.