In the spirit of the celebration of the 59th Independence Anniversary of Nigeria, Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde has called for a change of orientation on the part of all Nigerians.
He said this is by putting national interests first and above all what he described as “egocentric concepts” that negate the progress of the country.
The Governor said this on Tuesday in an address at the 59th Independence Day celebration, held at the Mainbowl of the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Noting that the Independence Day celebration used to be marked with funfair, Makinde stressed that this year’s edition calls for moments of sober reflection on the State and the Nation at large.
Before the Governor’s address, a commemorative March Past, which was the peak of a weeklong event organised by the State Government to celebrate the Nation at 59, was led by officers of the Oyo State Command of the Nigeria Police Force.
Makinde, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Rauf Olaniyan, gave the assurance that notwithstanding the plethora of challenges facing the country, his administration would continue to chart the course that would launch Oyo State into a land of great investments with economic opportunities and agricultural development.
In his words, “The present administration in Oyo State will continue to chart a course that will launch Oyo State into a land of great investments with economic opportunities and agricultural development, so that the State, in the not too distant future, will be a State of pride to us as before.”
The Governor declared that welfare programmes would be the focus of his administration, in order to create a good life for all the citizens of the State, even as the administration pursues its four policy thrust of agriculture development and its value chain, health, education and security.
He said, “We have a genuine desire to embark on aggressive strategy on mechanised agriculture and agriculture value chain that would not only provide employment for our people but one that would make Oyo State the Food Basket of the Nation.”
Disclosing that in the area of education, his government had embarked on an intervention programme flagged-off with the distribution of textbooks and exercise books to all the schools in the State, Makinde appealed to citizens to work with his government to ensure a successful future for the children.
He stated: “In order to achieve a greater level of educational development, we must invest in all-round development of our opportunity for self-development, self-reliance and self-actualisation by exposing them to trainings that will assist them to become patriotic and responsible citizens in the society.”
The Governor used the opportunity of the occasion to solicit the cooperation of the people of the State with his government, promising that he would ensure that all parts of the State is given a sense of belonging in the scheme of things, across religious or political divides.
He said, “I use the occasion of this year’s celebration to seek the cooperation of all progressive-minded people, civil servants, artisans, stakeholders, political leaders and followers. We shall accommodate all interests to ensure that every part of the State has a sense of belonging in deference to political or religious inclination.
“As Nigeria celebrates her 59th Independence Anniversary today, I congratulate us and pray that at our time, the dream of Eldorado is achieved. I wish you all a happy low key Independence celebration,” the Governor concluded.
Highpoint of the event included cultural performance, distribution of prizes for winners of the March Past, as well as an essay writing and a debate competition which had held earlier.
The event was witnessed by members of the State Executive Council; top government functionaries; the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr Adebo Ogundoyin, who led other lawmakers; the State Chief Judge, Muntar Abimbola, who led other members of the Judiciary; commissioners; special advisers; heads of ministerial and extra ministerial boards; agencies and parastatals.
Others are traditional rulers, security heads, religious leaders, public and private schools, paramilitary organisations, trade groups and artisans.
The ceremony also had a large turnout of the members of the public despite the early morning shower and a heavy presence of security operatives.