Nigeria @ 54: We’ve Made Appreciable Progress, Mark Says

David MarkSenate President, David Mark, on Tuesday urged Nigerians to have faith and remain steadfast in promoting peace and unity no matter the challenges.

The senate president in a goodwill message to Nigerians to mark this year’s Independence Day anniversary, said the indivisibility of our nation is not negotiable because there’s no better place than Nigeria.

Mark went down memory lane of the nation’s chequered political history since 1960, during which Nigeria experienced 30 months old fratricidal civil war, various ethno-religious conflicts and assured that our crisis are surmountable.

The senate president in the statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, dismissed as untrue, the insinuation in some quarters that Nigeria has not made progress, since independence.

He said, “Let us cast our minds back a little and see the number of road networks, schools, universities, health institutions, telecommunications and a host of others.

“We may not have been where we want to be but we have made appreciable progress and we can do more. All we need to do is to strengthen our unity as one people with one mission and purpose.

“The stable democracy has offered us opportunity to harness our abundant resources for good. Nigeria has passed through many challenges in the past and we came out of it.

“The security challenges; this Boko Haram can be defeated if we unit to fight them. I believe the Boko Haram, terrorism or insurgency is alien to us as a people. We have the capacity to defeat them and confine them to the dustbin of history”.

He promised that genuine complaints and agitations among Nigerians arising from the structure of our polity can be addressed by government but noted that the perceived imbalances cannot be corrected by taking up arms against each other.

Mark said, “We must therefore continue to shun individuals or groups that encourage, preach and practice division among our people. We must shun every harbinger of hate and bound together as a people of common interest and destiny.

“As legislators we will continue to do our part to wit; provide the needed legislative framework for the Executive Arm of Government to continue to deliver of the dividends of democracy to our people.

“Let me use this occasion to remind our fellow country men and women that as 2015 elections approaches, we must not lose sight of the fact that election should not be seen as war. We must play the game according to the rules”.

He also admonished politicians to restrain themselves from making inflammatory and treasonable statements or actions.

He said, “Our collective or individual ambitions are subordinate to the national interest. We must therefore, always consider the primacy of our national interest. After all, it is a trite fact that for us to even actualize our various political visions, our nation must first exist”.