Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, that the event of this year’s Independence Day was coming at a time when the country was at a crossroads in many respects.
He urged all Nigerians to join hands to pull Nigeria from the brink.
This was contained in a release he personally signed, titled ‘My 63rd Independence Day anniversary message to Nigerians’, a copy of which was sent to BusinessDay.
According to Atiku, “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.”
Atiku, who was the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election, recalled: “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 a 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 in 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.”
He further noted that “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.”
Urging all citizens to unite in the interest of the country, he said: “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.”
Meanwhile, a poll conducted by the NOl has revealed that insecurity, economy, corruption and bad leadership are Nigeria’s greatest challenges since gaining independence from colonial rule in 1960.
The opinion poll conducted by the NOl and sponsored by the Atedo Peterside-led ANAP foundation was released to the public ahead of the country’s 63 independence celebration.
A breakdown of the poll shows that 28 percent of the respondents agreed that Nigeria’s focus in the next one year should be in revamping the economy, tacking insecurity was second with 21 percent, fighting poverty was next at 13 percent, while job creation came last with 9 percent.
The poll future revealed that the county’s biggest achievement since independence was attaining democracy at 14 percent, with national unity at 9 percent and telecommunication at 7 percent.
The poll further shows that 51 percent of the respondents do not have trust for government institution such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), 13 percent of the respondents was neutral, with 25 having absolute trust in the commission, while 5 percent do not know.
For the judiciary, 58 percent of the respondents said they had no trust, 28 percent said they had complete trust for that institution of government, 15 percent was neutral, while 5 percent said they don’t know.
The ANAP foundation has a history of successful conducting opinion polls that predicts the outcome of key elections in Nigeria in recent years, especially the presidential poll.
In 2015 and 2019 the presidential election opinion polls conducted for ANAP foundation predicted correctly that the then candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari had a better chance of winning the last two presidential elections.
The two polls were conducted by NOI polls.