Fellow Cross Riverians, as it has become traditional with October 1st, today offers us yet another opportunity to gather once again to mark our country’s Independence from Britain. Precisely 61 years ago, the vision and aspirations of our founding fathers melted into concrete reality with the birthing of our dear country Nigeria as an independent state. It is for that historic occasion, 61 years today, that has offered us this unique opportunity to celebrate once again our evolution as a nation state. Instructively, as we celebrate today, we cannot say with absolute conviction, that 61 years down the line, it has been a bed of roses. At best, it has been an admixture, sometimes chequered, disappointing, hard and fraught with challenges that so often tend to numb our spirits.
In the last 61 years, we have demonstrated more commitment, greater faith and unflinching belief in the project called Nigeria than anyone would have imagined. We have survived brutal assaults, wriggled through tremors of recurring violence and sailed through the sea of divisive politics. As a people, we are currently confronted by a wave of insurgency and banditry. But against all odds, we have continued to bounce back, to rediscover ourselves by staying focused, steadfast and optimistic. And with the Almighty God watching over us, our dear country shall overcome.
Fellow Cross Riverians, in spite of those dispiriting moments, there have, however, been glittering times that we have exuded so much following our chain of accomplishments as a nation. Conscious of the fact that no nation has ever berthed on a roller coaster; or fulfilled its destiny without sweat, we cannot, therefore, as a country, afford to take our eyes off the ball.
Accordingly, today’s anniversary marks another turning point as we continue to soldier on with audacity of hope, a refreshing optimism and the spirit of enterprise. And with our minds firmly fixed on the ever sparkling skyline, we shall sure find a pathway to our destination. .
More significantly, today’s celebration should no doubt serve as a reawakening and an enticing platform to reflect on our past in order to re-chart our future.
Fellow Cross Riverians, as we ruminate on our nation’s socio political trajectory considering the tall mountains we have had to climb, the steep slopes we have had t~ descend, I want to enjoin you to remand resolute by re-committing and re-dedicating yourselves to the enduring values and vision that distinguish us as Cross Riverians. For it is only by such distinguishing attributes that we can achieve true independence as a people- one that will guarantee true freedom and total emancipation in the real sense of it. There is no doubt, therefore, that while our today is steadily finding perfect harmony. with our great expectations as a people, given our industrialization feat in the last six years, our future will find fulfillment from our great energy and determination to berth a better tomorrow for our beloved people of Cross River State. As an administration, we came with a clear focus to reconstruct the economy of our state and six years on, and in keeping with that vision and mission, we have been able to create a new and sound economy firmly anchored on industrialization, with a huge potential to create jobs and lift our people out of deprivations. In our avowed commitment to entrench a prosperity agenda, we shall not relent until we ensure every Cross Riverian is indeed rescued from the socio-economic quagmire that has held us captive to hunger and lack. Let us therefore, continue to bond together so that we can boldly confront the future with renewed confidence and determination. Fellow Cross Riverians, as we felicitate with one another on our lofty attainment of 61 years of nationhood, I enjoin us all to render our solemn supplications to God for His grace and enablement to overcome the challenges of today and actualize our dreams of tomorrow for the attainment of true independence.
Happy Independence Celebration.
God bless Nigeria!
God bless Cross River State!!
Sir Ben Ayade,
Cross River State