By Bode Akinbode, Ibadan
As Nigeria marks her 58th Independence anniversary on Monday (today), its citizens have been urged to see the country’s diversity as a unifying force to achieve peace, unity and national development and not as a threat to her coexistence.
Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi stated this in an address delivered to commemorate the 58th Independence anniversary of the country held at the Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan the Oyo State capital.
Ajimobi who was represented by his deputy, Otunba Moses Alake Adeyemo described the theme for this years celebration “Enhancing Our Diversity For National Development” as apt which he said calls for deep reflections.
According to him, as a nation with common heritage, history race,social ties, though heterogeneous in languages, dresses, food , we should leverage on the opportunities offered by the unity in our diversity for the common good of all.
“In a country of diverse ethnic rationalities, we are blessed with rich cultural heritage that if harnessed, will enhance the nation’s development.
“We have survived wars, recessions,natural calamities, but like a cat with nine lives, we are still together as a nation.
“It is therefore important that we emphasize to our young ones those things that bind and unite us which are far more than the things that decide us,” he said.
Governor Ajimobi pointed out that gaps have been created in the country’s national development as a result of absence of social ties, existence of cultural crevices and the rampant religious hatred in the country.
He therefore admonished Nigerians to embrace respect, acceptance and safety for one another adding that there is the need for the citizens to be open-minded, patient and objective in dealing with one another.
“It is time for us to put up our thinking cap and outgrow the age long practice of seeing ourselves as birds of strange bed fellows and harmonize our diversities for the fortune of us all, for God has given us endowment to fester and grow as a nation”, he advised.
The occasion attended by the State Head of Service, Mrs Hanah Ogunesan, other top government functionaries and traditional rulers in Ibadan land as usual, featured march past from various public and private schools in Ibadan as well as cultural display.