Governor of Delta, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa has urged Nigerians to rekindle hope in the nation as they celebrate its 59th Independence anniversary.
He made the call on Tuesday at the celebration in Asaba.
According to the governor, all over the world, countries are facing different challenges; we should, therefore, face these challenges squarely and not allow them to defeat us as a people.
He said: “Let us rekindle our hope, redouble our fervent prayers and supplication to God to see us through the numerous trials and unite us more than ever before.
“Our declarations should be positive both for leaders and the country; that way, we will have positive confirmation that the heavenly Father will grant our prayers.
“I appeal to all Deltans and indeed, all Nigerians, to rekindle their faith in a united country and in the continuous protection of democracy as the only viable system of governance, which is already bringing sustainable development to our nation in spite of obvious challenges.
“I wish to assure Deltans that government will not shirk its responsibilities to its citizens as we shall at all times, conscientiously pursue what is in the best interest of the State and according to the provisions of our Constitution.
“At 59, if we are to make further progress and follow the speed of sustainable development across the globe as a united people, we need to check our emphasis on regional, ethnic and religious divides.”
Okowa called for a concerted effort by all to foster growth and development in every part of the country.
He said that Nigerians let us look at themselves and share a sense of belonging as members of one family.
“Fifty-nine years in the life of any human being or entity is a remarkable point to acknowledge and take stock.
“I, therefore, salute our past and present leaders whose foresight and sacrifice brought us independence, which we are celebrating.
“I also salute our people, especially Deltans, who over the years, made sacrifices to ensure that our country remains united and committed to the path of democracy.
“As a government, we have maintained a steady focus on the economy of the State with a view to promoting prosperity and public-private-partnership in economic development.
“The State government has expended considerable resources towards improving basic infrastructure notably roads, drainages, healthcare, electricity, schools, bridges, housing, urban renewal, and portable water supply.
“This administration is determined to sustain this trend. It is, however, doubtful if the government alone can do all.
“Accordingly, this administration is exploring private sector participation in the overall development of the State.
“So far, we have laid the foundation for a critical mass of skills for entrepreneurship and business development.
” Over 20,000 persons benefited from our flagship Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP), Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs Programme (YAGEP) and similar programmes are undertaken by Ministries of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Commerce and Industry, Women Affairs, including Delta State Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency,” the governor said.
He appealled beneficiaries of the schemes to avoid selling off the empowerment tools handed over to them by the government at the end of their training.
According to him, such an act defeats the purpose of creating a group of determined SME operators who will turn the State’s and country’s economies around.
“It is expected that the progress they make can and should be the envy of those who opt for white-collar jobs.”
The celebration featured match past by the military, paramilitary agencies, students and pupils of public and private schools.