Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Thursday expressed delight that Nigeria would celebrate the New Year 2016 as a peaceful and united nation contrary to negative predictions that the country would disintegrate in 2015.
Saraki, in his New Year message to Nigerians through his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, congratulated the people for their resilience and patience especially in the face of daunting economic challenges.
He also stressed the need for effective collaboration between the people and the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to overcome the nation’s most pressing socio-economic challenges and to make the nation prosperous once again.
He assured the people that the present government was working to ensure the world stopped talking of the potential of Nigeria and move on to counting the achievements and progress recorded by our country as the true giant of Africa and a major player in world politics.
Saraki said, “I am delighted that we are celebrating the New Year not only in peace but as a united country to the shame of doomsday prophets that predicted that this country would not survive the year 2015.
“Notwithstanding the negative predictions, we are today marking the New Year as one indivisible country and, more than ever before, determined as a people to live together in peace, love and unity.
“This is why it is crucial for the government and the people to continue to work together to ensure total restoration of security in every nook and cranny of the country and to set the nation’s economy on the path of progress once more.
“Nigeria is the only country we have. Let’s unite to defend and make her the greatest country on the continent.”
He urged all aggrieved citizens to always explore the various available constitutional means of seeking redress and resolution rather than resorting to means that could create tension.
The Senate President pledged that the National Assembly would continue to fashion out appropriate legislative instruments that would bring succour to Nigerians, boost economic growth and strengthen the fight against corruption and insurgency.
Meanwhile, Saraki’s predecessor, Senator David Mark, has tasked Nigerian scholars and research institutes to collaborate with the government to fashion out a workable blueprint to overcome the present economic downturn.
Mark, in a statement by his Media Assistant, Paul Mumeh, noted that the present economic quagmire was a challenge that must of necessity bring out the best in our research institutes and professionals on the way forward.
The former Senate President, in his New Year message to Nigerians, stressed that there was no better time than now for the nation to face the stark reality and declare an emergency on how to diversify the economy.
To actualise the goal, he requested all states of the federation to join in the search for solution by developing mineral resources in which they had comparative advantage over others.
He said, “I know as a matter of fact that every state of the federation has one or two untapped mineral resources to develop and grow the economy.”
Mark expressed optimism that the nation’s economic challenges were surmountable if all stakeholders planned and worked towards overcoming them instead of hoping against hope on the price of crude oil.
He said, “We cannot continue to sulk on the failure of yesterday and the mistake of today, but the past should serve as a useful lesson for better tomorrow.”
Also, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has called on Nigerians to work and pray for the peace and progress of the country in the New Year.
Ekweremadu, who made the call in his New Year message, said despite the economic challenges of the moment, Nigeria made tremendous progress in nurturing democracy and preserving the peace and unity of the country.
He said, “There is no doubt that 2015 will be remembered as a defining year for the nation’s democracy and unity. We have to give deserved credit to the Nigerian people, whose sense of patriotism ensured that we held successful general elections and an unprecedented and smooth handover of government from one political party to the other.
“As we enter the New Year, therefore, it behoves on all Nigerians, leaders and the led alike, to sustain our democratic gains, especially the preservation of the rule of law and the sanctity of the ballot box as these two are the cornerstones of both democracy and stability.”
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