Governor Udom Emmanuel has called on Nigerians not to fan the embers of alienation and divisions in the country, but to help create a nation of equal opportunities.
The governor made this appeal while delivering his speech during the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration at the Uyo Cenotaph, on Friday.
According to him, the building blocks remain the common humanity, where ethno-religious passions are subsumed by the ennobling ideals of tolerance and diversity of ideas, culture and ethos.
“Let us work to create a nation where talents trump geography, where we strive to reward the best and encourage all to dream and strive; a nation where our youths are conditioned by the passion of volunteerism, of applying ideas to create wealth as opposed to a cradle-to-grave entitlement mind-set.
“Let us create a nation where a certain Akpan from Akwa Ibom State can in future aspire to be voted into office in Kaduna State or where an Abubakar from Katsina State can be a Senator representing my Eket Senatorial District in the National Assembly,” he said.
He noted that Nigeria can begin the conversation of the future, beginning today “and let the idea sink in the consciousness of leaders because if the Western World can knit their diversity in a tapestry of common values and brotherhood given the history of ultra-nationalistic foundations of those societies and today, have turned their societies into a beacon of multiculturalism, Nigeria can replicate same”
“When we guarantee an equality of aspirations and create a level playing field, the resort to the drum beat of ethno-religious conflicts and other agitations which had led to certain conflicts, for which these noble and gallant Nigerians gave their lives to neuter, will certainly be replaced by the sweet symphonies of love, brotherhood and oneness. May affliction never visit us a second time,” he submitted.
Governor Emmanuel used the occasion to assure the Armed Forces of continuous partnership and collaboration between his government and the military.
He maintained that his administration has worked in close collaboration with the Armed Forces establishment to add value to the improvement of the living standards of the service men.
“In year 2019, we fulfilled a promise I made when I visited one of our military formations at Ibagwa and saw the acute need to intervene in the improvements of the living conditions of our gallant and brave soldiers.
“I had made a promise to remodel and renovate blocks of flats for the officers and men of the Battalion. The first phase of the renovated blocks of flats were handed over to the Battalion in 2019 and last year, we also handed over additional blocks of flats, bringing the total blocks of flats so far remodelled to 168.
“We have also done the water reticulation to improve the quality of water in the barrack. We are working hard to ensure that power and other quality of live amenities are upgraded in the barrack. We are determined God willing, to replicate this gesture across other layers of our security architecture,” he stated.
The Governor stated that the occasion is unique as the nation gathers to honour bravery, valour and unbridled spirit of patriotism displayed by gallant Nigerians whose blood and toll helped water the trees and fountains of our unity and cords of brotherhood.
“Every year, at various locations spread all over the vast expanse of this great Nation, grateful Nigerians will gather on this day, to celebrate the gallantry, bravery, sacrifice, deep spirit of volunteerism and patriotic fervour of the men and women who elected without conscription, to sign up to defend the territorial integrity of this Nation.
“By accepting that singular patriotic act, these men and women of valour and bravery agreed to pay the ultimate price so the freedom and peace we enjoy today may not be compromised or put in jeopardy”.