Nigeria @ 61: we must proffer urgent remedies for poverty, restiveness – Gov Bello

Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has called on Nigerians to quickly find remedies for poverty and restiveness in the land.

The governor in his Independence broadcast, on Friday titled “Nigeria at the crossroads,” stated that citizens were presented with the challenge of being better stewards of our diversity adding that our many tribes, religions and geopolitical differences were an advantage not available to many nations which lacked them.

He added that in many fields of endeavour from professional callings to sports careers, Nigeria has had a larger pool of human resources to draw from and have accordingly succeeded much more than many nations without similar privileges, however, the nation has had many times when it fell below her installed capacity in meeting the challenges of a rapidly advancing world.

Governor Bello reiterated the commitment of the New Direction Administration to continue building bridges that bring our people together.

He said “I have often and severely warned my officials at all levels to eschew divisiveness and encourage cooperation and integration among Kogites themselves and between Kogites and others as a cardinal objective of governance.

“As a result, we have had the pleasure, over the last six years, of seeing our diversity of tribes, religions, age, class, gender and ability working together in closer harmony than at any other time before to move our state forward.”

Governor Bello noted that the nation was faced with the challenge of finding more equitable models of security, unity, peace and shared prosperity to strengthen the very basis of her coexistence adding that this challenge would require intentional action by leaders and the led alike, particularly as we march towards a change of baton in our national leadership in 2023.

He acknowledged that It was self-evident that different sections of our citizenry, including the North Central, were making increasingly louder demands for equity, fairness and justice in the nation while putting forth their preferred perspectives of what that fair play should look like

The governor alluded that the present and the next Nigerian leadership must now accept the task of midwifing a solution that is generally accepted without undermining the basic premises of our constitutionality.

Governor Bello in his address presented the Four Principal Pillars of Inclusiveness within the Nigerian context, to include; our constitutional guarantees of equality as citizens are binding on leaders irrespective of their personal beliefs, feelings and inclinations, equity, unity and the fear of God (are) the principal bedrocks of a diverse but egalitarian society.

He added that Inclusivity and equal access to government and its institutions are the inalienable right of all citizens and that affirmative action was for every section of the populace and that government was useless unless it ensures that wherever people are disadvantaged or excluded in our society, leadership was bound by law to take action to balance the scales.

“My concept of a united Nigeria is not one where everyone is held down by force or fear, but a nation which guarantees all citizens security, unity and peace.

“It must be equitable and allow everyone to thrive on his own merits. Tribe, religion and class must not be used to discriminate against or marginalise anyone and civics must encourage cooperation and integration as a cardinal tenet of citizenship.

“We have to start substituting the place of residence for the state of origin and finding ways to immediately and brutally punish corruption in private and public spheres,” he said.

He added that “Our politics and leadership must transform into a service that ensures the quality of life is high despite social status while essential goods and services are affordable. Our local job markets must deliver jobs to people at their levels of learning, skills and experience”

Governor Bello noted that the nation must have economic stability and be a family-friendly place where parents can raise the next generation well adding that we would require income equality, especially across the genders.

“A united Nigeria will thrive on political stability and social security. It also goes without saying that the quality of the public education system and that of the public health system must be high. Both must deliver free to affordable services. It is only then that people will belong because they want to, not because they must,” he said.

Governor Bello asserted that his government in Kogi State was founded on these principles and while it was still progressive, the state has journeyed a good part of the way.

He explained that Kogi was the emerging paradigm for cooperation and integration as a basis for citizens’ co-existence instead of the previous divide and rule tactics which failed politicians and harmed citizens in the past a paradigm which according to him he hoped to expand and export to the larger Nigerian society as we march towards the critical Year 2023.

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