Independence Day: Democracy best for Nigeria, says FG


George Akume

The Federal Government says it has not invited any world leader to the country’s 63rd Independence Day anniversary scheduled for October 1, maintaining that this year’s event will be low-key.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and former Governor of Benue State, George Akume, disclosed this on Monday in response to a question by The PUNCH during a press conference in Abuja.

Akume, however, said  Nigeria had a lot to be grateful for, including the democratic dispensation in the country.

“Despite political tremors and a wave of coups in some parts of the ECOWAS sub-region, Nigerians have fully embraced democracy with its core values and practices as the best form of governance. Democracy affords the citizens the opportunity through elective structures and processes to effectively participate in the affairs of their country.

“The relationship between the people and government in a representative democracy is symbiotic: while the citizens support the government, the government provides security, protects, and enhances their interests,” the SGF said.

Akume said the decision to have a low-key celebration “has nothing to do with whether we’re not doing well.”

“Economic times are hard, we are looking at it not just at the national level but also as a family. We have not invited world leaders. During the inauguration of the President, 53 world leaders were invited, so we have not invited any world leaders. The report of the investigator for CBN will soon be ready for the public.

“As you are aware, the President has given his approval for this 63rd anniversary to be low-key in line with the present economic realities. The theme of the anniversary is “Nigeria @ 63, Renewed Hope for Unity & Prosperity,” he said.

Shedding light on the choice of the anniversary theme, the SGF said, “The government is fully aware of the economic challenges that Nigerians are confronted with since the removal of the fuel subsidy as well as the impact of the global economic downturn. The government is working assiduously to provide the necessary palliatives so as to mitigate such challenges and also the provision of buses to ease hardship on transportation among others. At the same time, the government is engaging with labour in order to address areas of concern for the well-being of all Nigerian workers and Nigerians generally.

“It is for this reason that this government led by His Excellency, Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, is anchoring on the Renewed Hope Agenda which will improve food security; guarantee end to poverty; improve security; economic growth and job creation; access to capital; improve the playing field on which people and particularly companies operate; respect for the rule of law; and fight against corruption.”

The SGF said the Federal Government remained committed to fostering a cohesive nation, despite its diversity.

 “We have all agreed to live in a united peaceful, united, prosperous country, despite our diversity. Without these, no nation can move forward. Government is making sure our national interest is not undermined,” Akume said.

Among the programmes lined up for the event included an anniversary symposium/public lecture, on Thursday, September 28 at the State House Conference Centre; a lecture on Friday, September 29 at the National Mosque Conference Centre by 10 and Juma’at Prayer at the National Mosque at 1 pm.

Akume also announced the presidential broadcast on Sunday, October 12023 at 7 am; the inter-denominational church service on Sunday, October 1, 2023, at the National Christian Centre at 10 am and the military parade on Monday, October 2, at the Presidential Villa, at 9 am.(Punch)

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