Nigeria@60: Oduduwa descendants hold one million man rally for one Nigeria in Lagos

•Pledges allegiance to a united Nigeria

The Congress of Oduduwa Descendants (COD), on Thursday, held one million-man rally in Lagos in solidarity with a united, indivisible Nigeria. 

On the occasion of the country’s diamond jubilee, the group said it is not a case of east, south, west or north, but one Nigeria. 

President-General, Otunba Arokoyo Olumide Peterson, speaking on behalf of the group pledged total allegiance to the country, downplaying “enemies attempts to fester conflict in our polity” 

While admitting the challenges confronting the nation, the group expressed confidence that together it will triumph over her adversaries. 

The Congress of Oduduwa Descendants, however, called on Nigerians to “consolidate on the unity of purpose and diversity of strength of our dear country”. 

It assured that Nigeria shall stay united for many years ahead in its quest for greatness.

Read full speech below:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

“Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey To serve our fatherland With love and strength and faith the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain to serve with heart and might One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.” 

My dear compatriots, the occasion of Nigeria’s 60th-anniversary celebrations indeed calls for sober reflection on the journey so far. We are indeed a great nation blessed with good people committed to translating our hopes and aspirations into tangible realities.

The words of Sir Tafawa Balewa on 1st of October 1960 still resonate in our consciousness. “Words cannot adequately express my joy and pride at being the Nigerian citizen privileged to accept from Her Royal Highness these Constitutional Instruments which are the symbols of Nigeria’s Independence. It is a unique privilege which I shall remember forever, and it gives me strength and courage as I dedicate my life to the service of our country.” 

“At the time when our constitutional development entered upon its final phase, the emphasis was largely upon self-government. We, the elected representatives of the people of Nigeria, concentrated on proving that we were fully capable of managing our affairs both internally and as a nation. However, we were not to be allowed the selfish luxury of focusing our interest in our own homes. In these days of rapid communications, we cannot live in isolation, apart from the rest of the world, even if we wished to do so. All too soon, it has become evident that for us, Independence implies a great deal more than self-government. This great country, which has now emerged without bitterness or bloodshed, finds that she must at once be ready to deal with grave international issues.”

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These words indeed laid the foundation for the country called Nigeria. And to think that we have indeed weathered the storms of life calls for celebrations. No doubt we have had our fair share of trials and tribulations. But we have remained united to see our 60th anniversary. Nigeria, we hail thee. 

It is indeed a case of neither East nor South, West or North, but One Nigeria and this is the position of the Congress of Oduduwa Descendants.  We are not just felicitating; we are indeed celebrating the journey so far for our great country Nigeria. 

Today, we celebrate Olayinka Herbert Samuel Heelas Badmus, who is regarded as the founder of Nigerian nationalism. We also celebrate Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Oyeniyi Awolowo a nationalist and a statesman who played a crucial role in Nigeria’s independence movement.  

Òkun kì í hó ruru, kí á wà á ruru. (Never paddle wildly in a stormy sea. Be patient; complex issues should be carefully and patiently handled.) This is our message to all sons and daughters of Oduduwa on this 60th independence anniversary celebration of our great country Nigeria. 

We might have our issues as a people and as a country, but at the end of the day, Nigeria shall triumph over her adversaries. And this fact remains our overarching objective in ensuring that Nigerian remains a strong and indivisible country. 

The enemies of Nigeria have attempted to fester conflict in our polity. They have made insinuations and postulations to divide us, but we have remained united to the chagrin of the enemies of Nigeria. 

This occasion of our 60th-anniversary celebration presents the perfect opportunity for us to consolidate on the unity of purpose and diversity of strength of our dear country for we are better together than divided. 

This is not the time for distractions. This is not the time for the sons and daughters of Oduduwa to get carried away by the propaganda been put forward by those that are hell-bent on seeing to the disintegration of Nigeria. In the past 60 years, their plans have failed, and in all honesty, this is not the time for any form of distractions. 

The Congress of Oduduwa Descendants views the lofty strides in Nigeria in the past 60 years as a step in the right direction. So, therefore, we shall not be cowed or mislead by the antics of a few disgruntled elements that have vowed to see to the disintegration of Nigeria. 

The cherished desire of the Congress of Oduduwa Descendants is that of one Nigeria regardless of our ethnic and religious affiliations. Nigeria has remained united in the past 60 years indicates that we are on the path of greatness. The various indices in place in Nigeria indicate such. As critical stakeholders in the Nigerian cause, we stand in absolute solidarity.  

The Congress of Oduduwa Descendants is more than confident that Nigeria shall stay united many years ahead in our quest for greatness. Those that have been fanning the embers of war should better have a rethink and embrace peace. 

Our position in this regard is sacrosanct and unshaken. We are resolute hence this 60th independence procession for one Nigeria forever for the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain, to serve with heart and might One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.

Democracy in Nigeria has come to stay, and this season of our 60th-anniversary celebration presents us with that unique opportunity once again in our quest for nation-building.   A nation is not defined by its borders or the boundaries of its landmass Rather; a country is defined by adverse people who have been unified by a cause and a value system and who are committed to a vision for the type of society they wish to live in and give to the future generations to come.

 What we need now is a nation of great people who live to impact others and build enduring legacies positively. Each one of us, and, indeed, all those who aspire to national leadership must bring their visions, views and styles to the business of reforming Nigeria, and the search for solutions.

Nations and governments come and go, but people remain. Therefore people are the ultimate foundation of what is real and worthy. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue. And this is our stance.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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