On October 1, 1960, Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa urged us to “move with quiet dignity to our place on the world stage.”
On October 1, 2012, the world stage is being defined by such technologies as personal computers, the Internet and mobile phones.
The 21st century will be the century of knowledge and the century of technological developments and a century in which the intellectual capital of a nation will drive its economic growth. It is therefore imperative that we invest in our children’s education, not only so that they can flourish in a world that demands technological literacy, but so that we can harness their creativity in building our nation.
Our investments in education and technology will be our legacy to our children. They are investments that will bring the best out of the next generation of Nigerians and enable us to reach our potential as individuals, communities and a nation.
There is an old saying; “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will never be hungry.” The art of fishing and self-sustenance is more valuable than having a fish on your plate. For Nigerians in particular, this parable reminds us that developing our human resources is more valuable than exploiting our natural resources.
My brothers and sisters, we invest in education because it will enable us to build a better Nigeria. Our children will be the beneficiaries of the collective decisions that we as adults make today. When we invest in our children, it will be observed that our collective standard of living will grow too.
The real leaders of this nation are ordinary people with the extraordinary determination and foresight to invest in their children’s education.
As we answer Prime Minister Balewa’s call and march towards the world stage, let us also remember that our common interests – in our nation, and in our children – outweigh our differences. We are greater than the sum of the fears that have kept us divided in the past as a nation.
As we pause to celebrate our nation’s 52nd birthday, please take time to remember that most Nigerians who celebrated our nation’s first birthday are no longer among us. We hereby honor their memory and legacy, by showing our love for our family and friends, our respect for each other, and re-affirming our oneness as a nation.
You owe it to our founding fathers and mothers, and to all Nigerians, to avow that wherever flags are flying, no one is more determined than you in ensuring that the Nigerian flag flutters high above those of many nations.
Nigeria is a work in progress and a country with enormous potential. Our petroleum reserve is the envy of many other nations today, and the Nigerian people have an unstoppable determination, internal fortitude and indomitable spirit that gives us hope for the future.
I greet all Nigerians with love and respect and send my best wishes for a joyous Independence Day. Wish you all, a joyous celebration.
Courtesy: Ebie Ernest.