By Nasir El-Rufai
Today, our dear country Nigeria marks 60 years of freedom from colonial rule. As we mark this milestone, I wish to salute all Nigerians as we continue our efforts to build a country that matches the dreams and passions of the independence generation.
Our national journey has been an uneven ride, with much to admire and plenty to correct. We have had triumph and tragedy, made some progress and endured reversals. But our country’s profound potentials invite us to strive on, urging us to keep on the light of hope to quench the darkness of despair.
As we confront our challenges, let us turn our gaze towards what we can become. We can be better than what we have ever been. The past 60 years offer us lessons about what we can make of our country. Let us reflect on these to make the next 60 years an epoch of success, progress and development for our country and all its people.
We can be the country that consistently guarantees equality of opportunity for every citizen, wherever they choose to live in this vast land.
We have been at our best when we have upheld the rule of law and promoted merit. We must ensure that we have a strong framework for delivering decent public education and health care systems. It is the people that we build, in mind and body, that can make real and sustainable the rich promise of this country.
We can make the hard choices we need to better secure and more closely connect all the parts of this country.
Let us celebrate 60 years of independence with a focus on a new national consensus on our collective goals, on citizenship, on the rule of law, on diversity, on merit, on governance and how powers and responsibilities are devolved between the states and the Federal Government.
In Kaduna State, we have tried to do just that in the last five years, contributing to national progress with reforms in governance, education, health and infrastructure. We have strengthened our sub-national economy with foreign direct investment and established strong credentials for ease of doing business. Our governance agenda aims to ensure that poverty does not stifle a child’s ability to gain decent basic education and that young people have the skills and access to finance to actualize their agency in creating jobs or in doing well where they are employed.
Through increased investments in the health sector, we seek to reduce the possibility that pregnancy becomes a fatal ordeal for mother and infant. We seek to stand by the hardworking and the honest, to promote initiative and to reward merit.
I call on residents of Kaduna State to continue to do their utmost for peace and harmony in our various communities. We offer our sympathies and commiserations to everyone that has been impacted by the security challenges in parts of all the three senatorial districts of our state.
As a state government, we are doing our utmost to support the security agencies to address these challenges. In this quest, we are also encouraged by the community level initiatives for peace that are going on in the southern Kaduna senatorial district, beginning with the exemplary efforts of community leaders in Atyap Chiefdom. We pray Almighty God to bless these efforts and strengthen the constituency for peace across the state.
As we mark the diamond jubilee of our country’s freedom, it is customary that we extend a gesture of mercy to some persons that are serving their sentence in prisons within Kaduna State. I have exercised powers vested by Section 212 of the Constitution and accepted the recommendations of the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy to commute the sentences of 34 convicts. Based on this decision, 25 convicts are to be released, while others have had their sentences reduced, including commuttal of death sentences for some convicted armed robbers to life imprisonment.
Once again, I congratulate the people of Kaduna State and all Nigerians on this milestone.
It is in our hands to make the future better than the best of the past! We can do it!!!
Happy 60th Independence Day!!!
God bless Kaduna State!
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!
-Message by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, on the occasion of the 60th Independence Anniversary of Nigeria