Jos - Some prominent Nigerians on Thursday
challenged the country's leaders to strive towards a purposeful leadership that
would enable the country to hit its potential of becoming a great nation.
Some of them told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the
nation had remained on its knees since independence because its leaders were
Former Plateau Governor, Chief Fidelis Tapgun, said that the
nation had the potential to be great but was unable to attain that because it
lacked the right leaders to pull it through.
"As a nation, we have every potential that a people need to
"We have natural resources and quality human resources; all
that remains is for our leaders to harness these potentialities, maximise them
to optimum use and exploit them toward making Nigeria a land of opportunities
"Check all the sectors, from the economy, law, sports and
all, we have the manpower. The brain drain to various countries is a testimony
"We also have oil, mineral resources, agricultural products
and many other untapped areas. If we can tap half of these resources, we shall
create jobs and exploit our resources to create a wonderful country we shall
all be happy to live in,'' he said.
Tapgun called on the leaders to initiate steps to curb
corruption and plug holes through which resources were siphoned.
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He said that such efforts would save monies that would be
deployed into projects that would better the lot of Nigerians.
In his independence message, the Chief of Eggon in Nasarwa
State, Bala Angbazo, called on Nigerians to pray for peace in the country,
noting that such was key to any human growth.
He challenged the nation's leaders to work toward national
integration that would give a sense of equality and belonging to all
constituents and make them proud to serve the country.
The chief said that Nigerians must be happy that the nation
was still standing as one, in spite of various crises that included a civil war
that lasted for more than three years.
Angazo urged the nation's leaders to encourage Nigerians to
see themselves as one by playing up the factors that united them as a people.
"We must always seek common grounds; we must also strive to
see ourselves as one irrespective of religious, tribal and political
"We must also encourage our children in the families and
communities to learn to accept each other; we must also encourage mutual
respect so that no segment will feel that it is being treated as inferior,'' he
Gov. Simon lalong of Plateau, in his message, challenged
Nigerians to ask themselves what they had done to make Nigeria better, and step
up even more of such efforts to make Nigeria great.
The message, signed by the Director of Press Affairs, Mr
Emmanuel Nanle, advised Plateau residents to see themselves as one and strive
to protect each other by serving as each other's keeper.
"Nigeria and Plateau belong to all of us. It is our duty to
make it great and we should wait for no one, not even the government, to do it
for us,'' he said.
Lalong promised to offer quality leadership that would be a
spring board toward the great Nigeria that would offer youths hope and
In her message, Hajia Halima Wada, the wife of the Kogi
Governor, challenged women to pray fervently for a stable, peaceful and
prosperous Nigeria with opportunities for all.
Halima urged women to pray for good governance and advised
leaders to cherish the led by being compassionate.
"Leaders must show love and affection to all without
betraying any sentiment that will send the signal that they are partisan,'' she
She challenged Nigerians, especially the rich ones, to show
affection to their poverty-stricken compatriots by initiating steps that would
impove their living standards.
"Some of us have pet projects through which we reach the
poor. We expect NGOs and rich individuals to do same. Such milk of kindness is
good for the nation,'' she said.
Also in Lokoja, some Nigerians called for more action from
government to restore hope to the poor Nigerians that had remained hopeless
One such Nigerian, Bayo Aina, a wrist watch repairer, called
for good roads and improved infrastructure that would make life worth living
for the poor.
"I shall beg that more attention is paid to the rural
roads. It is one sure way to help the rural dwellers and minimise the massive
drift to the cities,'' he said.
Another Lokoja resident, Felicia Anebo, called for more
infrastructure but expressed regret that the available facilities did not match
the nation's population growth.
For Mohammed Aliyu, a teacher, the nation's leaders should
do more in the area of education.
"It is a shame that no Nigerian university ranks among the
top 1,000 in world rankings, 55 years after independence.
"It is an indictment of all the nation's leaders that such
shame is with us and we must see it as a challenge,'' he said.
He said that Nigeria's claim to being the giant of Africa
should be demonstrated by a leadership that was willing to invest in the future
so that generations unborn would be proud to be called Nigerians.
In Minna, the Permanent Secretary in the Niger Ministry of
Science and Technology, Alhaji Usman Umar, called for prayers for President
Muhammadu Buhari as the nation marked its 55 years of independence.
He commended the efforts by the new leadershp to rid the
nation of corrupt tendencies.
Umar asked Nigerians to shun vices and anti-social
behaviours that would paint the nation in bad light.
"We must see Nigeria as one and strive to make it a great place
for all,'' he said.
On his part, Mr Jibrin Musa, Chairman of the Nsarawa State
chapter of the Judiciary Workers Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), said that the
economy could only grow if workers' salaries were paid on time.
"We have situations where salaries are delayed for months
and even years. That kills purchasing power and breeds hopelessness and
despondency,'' he said.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the independence day, Mr
Abashia Koto, Chairman, Akwanga Local Gocvernment in Nasarawa State, challenged
leaders to fight against poverty, unemployment and insecurity.
"Leaders must shun tribalism and segregation along the
lines of tribe, religion or politics. It is the only way to encourage the
followership to see themseves as one.''
He cautioned against nepotism and risky behaviours, saying
that leaders should rather inculcate the values of love, patriotism and other
virtues worth emulating by all.
Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue, in his message, asked the people
to always support their leaders.
He said there was no way leaders could succeed if government
policies did not receive support and acceptance by the people that were usually
the beneficiaries of such efforts.