Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria’s history is the precursor to a greater country, insisting that Nigeria’s future cannot be determined by the negative parts of its history.
Professor Osinbajo stated this on Tuesday at photo exhibition organized by the Ministry of Information and Culture to mark Nigeria’s 58th Independence Anniversary at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
The vice president said: “I am pleased to say on behalf of the Nigerian government and people that we have chosen to say that our history will not determine our future; our history is the least that we can ever be; our future is much greater; our history is only a precursor to a greater Nigeria; to a Nigeria that is prosperous, united and where all of us are treated fairly and justly.”
He said the photo exhibition, which showcased Nigeria’s political history, was important for three reasons.
According to him, the exhibition would help Nigerians to recognize the incredible leadership of the country’s past political leaders, from the colonial days till the moment.
“All of these incredible leaders – men and women who have shown such great wisdom and wit at various times; such dedication and courage at various times; this exhibition celebrates them.”
Osinbajo said the exhibition would also remind Nigerians of “the twists and turns of our history,” in the colonial phase, the independence, the first republic, the political crisis, the coups and countercoups, the civil war, the short restoration of civil rule and another military incursion and then civil rule since 1999.
“Each phase has tested our resolve to remain united, to maintain the integrity of the country known as Nigeria. Each phase has tested the commitment of our leaders to the Nigerian project; it has tested their ingenuity and their wisdom in navigating the frequently tortuous and turbulent waters of our national story.
“With the benefit of hindsight, I think that it is evident that at every turn we clearly saw strength of the Nigerian resolve to build a nation and the valiant attempts of the leadership at state building.
“We have not always excelled or have not always done as well as we should. But that is not the story. The story is that we have never lacked the courage and will to keep trying, and to do so with greater resolve and greater commitment.”
Vice President Osinbajo also gave the way to approach history as the third reason for the importance of the exhibition.
“History could be a crutch; it could be an excuse for not doing as well as we could, or a strong shoulder to stand on. It could be a tyrant reminding us of how we got it wrong; or it could be a reminder that our future is greater than our history.”
They were John Chinyere of Federal Government Boys College, Gudu; Eunice Grace Andrew of Stella Maris College, Garki; and Vincent Davies of the Model Secondary School, Maitama.
Earlier, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the event offered an opportunity for Nigerians to reflect on their country.
“There is no doubt that this day is special to every Nigerian; it is a day to reflect on our country; our unity, patriotism and commitment to nation building.
“Over the years the country has gone through trials; the 1st of Oct is a day for celebration and thanksgiving because it occupies a very important place in the political history of our country.
“It also serves as a reminder and appreciation of the labours of heroes past,’’ he said.
Students from 17 secondary schools in Abuja participated in the exhibition.