Fellow compatriots; our country is 55 years today. Today is therefore a great day in our national history. Fifty five years is a milestone in the life cycle of nations. It is even more so in Africa and other developing of the world where the very idea of nationhood is perpetually on trial. We must all be thankful to Almighty God for his special love and infinite grace to Nigeria.
Fellow compatriots, this special Anniversary of our nationhood calls for a sober reflection. 55 years ago, when the Green-White-and-Green Nigerian flag replaced the British Union Jack, our founding fathers dreamt of a country whose greatness would finally announce to the free world, the rise of a super-power in black Africa. They dreamt of a strong country whose inherent potentials would outweigh its in-born socio-cultural inhibitions and whose promise would outshine the teething problems of nascent nationhood. Our founding fathers had rightly hoped and prayed for the sun to rise on Nigeria and for a moment, their wishes seemed granted.
Fellow Compatriots, 55 years after independence, our country has survived successive waves of pogroms and a bloody Civil War; we have repeatedly danced on the edge of the cliff and experienced harrowing moments of civil disturbances, religious and ethnic violence and wide-spread uncertainty and doubt about our corporate future. Right now, the dark clouds of insurgency hovers over the North East of Nigeria and all over the country, a general sense of insecurity reigns. But Nigeria is stronger than all her challenges and Nigeria will survive through it all.
Ndi Anambra, when I look at what we have been through in Anambra State and how far we have come, it gives me hope for Nigeria. When I remember that for decades, our people lived in fear; when I think of the fact that for years, our dear state looked like a cemetery for dead and dying dreams, my faith in the eventual triumph of good over evil is renewed. My faith in the Nigerian project is restored.
So, there is much to be hopeful for. Ndi be anyi, there is so much to be thankful for. Although the price of oil is still down in the international market, our hopes shall not fall. Though insurgents and violent criminals still prowl the land, our dreams shall never die. Although we may not always agree with each other, the basis of our union shall withstand the test of unity.
In Anambra State, we are already turning the corner for a brighter future. When I watched the first harvest of rice at the Coscharis Farms in Anaku the other day, I knew that Anambra is on the verge of prosperity. When I look at the promising growth of our IGR, I know that our tomorrow will be greater than our today. When I look at the structures we are putting in place, the fundamentals we are building and the artist impression of the proposed Awka Capital City Project, I become prouder to be onye Anambra. Umu nnem, anyi bu ife!
So, on this great occasion of Nigeria’s 55th Independence, I see nothing but hope…hope for our school children who represented Nigeria at the last World Schools Debating Championship in Singapore, hope for our industrialists who shall soon begin to enjoy the benefits of the Independent Power Plant being built by UDIPPCO in Umerum and hope for our teeming youths who shall soon begin to get good jobs from the various investors who are beginning to settled down in Anambra State.
Brothers and sisters, I see hope for Anambra State. I see hope for Nigeria. It is along this line that I have decided to give hope to the hopeless amongst us by exercising my prerogative of mercy and granting amnesty to 25 prisoners serving different terms in the three prisons in Anambra State.
Happy Independence Anniversary!