The people of Akwa Ibom State have joined other Nigerians across states of the Federation to mark Nigeria’s 56th Independence Anniversary.
At the ceremony which took place at Uyo Township Stadium, the state Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, read the anniversary address by the President and Commander In Chief Of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, and later took the salute in a match pass performed by School Children, Youth, Women and Political Groups.
In the address, President Muhammadu Buhari empathized with Nigerians over the current difficulties occasioned by the economic recession and appealed for patience on the part of Nigerians saying the recession was temporary and that his administration is determined to bring succor to the people.
President Buhari reiterated his administration’s determination to stamp out corruption adding that Government would adhere strictly to the rule of Law and called for support from the Judiciary to enable his government succeed in the war against corruption.
He said that paliative measures have been put in place to revitalise the economy and announced that four refineries in the country are to be overhauled for increased production of petrol to save the country the billions of dollars expended annually in importing fuel for domestic use.
The President said mobilization of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Bank have taken place to encourage local production of rice, maize, sorghum, milet and soya beans to ensure sufficiency in these stapple food.
He explained that farmers in thirteen out of thirty six states are receiving credit facility through the Central Bank’s Anchor Borrowers Programme and pointed out that kebbi State alone is expected to produce more than a million tonnes of locally grown rice adding that out of the thirteen States, Lagos and Ogun States would soon start the programme.
He explained that with the measures taken, the country would be self – sufficient in basic staples by 2019 and that the foreign exchange conserved would be channeled to industrial rejuvination.
President Buhari also acknowledged that the country has made progress in the area of security but decried a new face of insurgency which has reared it head in the shape of blowing up of gas and oil pipelines by a group of Niger Delta militants and assured that his administration would not allow the mindless group to hold the country to ransom.
While congratulating Nigerians on the independence anniversary, he assured that the sectoral reforms in the economy will revive the value of naira, provide employment and enhance the living standard of Nigerians.
The Head of State noted that in the last 18 months Nigerian’s perception have changed and that investors from all over the world are coming in droves to do business in the country and reiterated commitment to ensure an enablng environment for the investors assuring that the reforms would launch Nigeria into the 21st century global market.
The President expressed appreciation to Nigerians for their patience, perseverance and steadfastness saying the challenges was only temporal and that the country would soon get out of it.
In a special banquet held at the Government House Uyo to round up the event, Governor Emmanuel commended Nigerians for the love shown their fatherland by adjusting to the challenging economic situation.
He noted that Nigerians are the architects of the present economic predicament and that there is no need for the blame game rather every citizen should arise and take the destiny of the country by following the paradigm shift and change in orientation.
Governor Emmanuel called on the political class to sink party differences and work together to salvage the economy and thanked God for preserving the Nation.
The Deputy Gorvernor Mr Mosses Ekpo proposed a toast for peace, progress and unity of the country, Nigeria.
Dignitaries including the Governor’s Wife Martha, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon Onofiok Luke, State Chief Judge Justice Stephen Okon, Secretary to the State Government, Sir Etekamba Umoren, members of the State Executive Council,Director General Divine Mandate, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, Wives of former Governors madam Nne Isong, Obonganwan Imo Isemin, Senators Eme Ufot Ekaete, Anietie okon and investors from the Republic of Ukraine attended the banquet.