By Abuchi Onwumelu
The Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, has urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to dedicate a day in honour of Nigeria’s foremost nationalist and first President of the Nation, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe.
The Governor made this call last Monday, October 1, at a ceremony to mark Nigeria’s 59th Independence Anniversary at Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka, where he also announced that Anambra State would set the pace by observing a holiday in honour of the Great Zik of Africa on November 16 of every year henceforth.
While delivering the Independence Day address, Gov. Obiano said the nation would be according Zik due honour by declaring his birthday, November 16, a National holiday, in memory of the great sacrifices he made for the independence and continued unity of Nigeria.
He recalled presenting this request to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018 and observed that the honour to the great Zik of Africa was long overdue, as, according to him, other African nationalists like Nkrumah, Nyerere and Neto, whom, he said, Zik rallied for the struggle of Africa’s independence from colonialism, had all been honoured by their countries.
Gov Obiano remarked that the journey to nationhood continued from the early days of Independence when the founding fathers made selfless sacrifices and risked their lives to attain independence; to the concerted efforts, through the civil war and challenges of development, to attain true democracy and an ideal country.
He noted that throughout the struggle, the greatest victory they had won was the preservation of the country and the continued existence of Nigeria as one entity.
The Governor expressed delight over great sons of Anambra, who, he said, had toed the steps of founding fathers by offering services depicting astounding patriotism and profound selfless sacrifices for men and country.
Special mention was made of Dr Allen Onyema who offered his airline, AirPeace, to lift Nigerians hounded by xenophobia out of South Africa; and Chief Innocent Chukwuma who pioneered the first vehicle manufacturing company in Nigeria.
Obiano noted that these sons of Anambra had shown the same patriotic and nationalistic spirit which Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was known for and for which he lived and died, leaving an indelible mark in Africa and etching Anambra proudly in the world’s history journals.
The Governor charged Ndi Anambra to rededicate themselves to the service of state and country and urged them to identify with developmental plans of government to enhance productivity and the economy of the state.
He called on them to celebrate Nigeria’s independence and the Spirit of Anambra but to also remember to drive for excellence and their capacity to change the human condition, noting that it was for such ideals that Zik was remembered till this day.
Addressing other issues, Gov Obiano reiterated his commitment to the growth and development of Anambra State. He affirmed the resolve of his administration to reposition the state for greatness in line with the ideals of the founding fathers.
The governor announced that arrangements were in top gear to raise the bar in security as government was set to launch crime detection, crime prevention and crime fighting equipment procured for the security of the state and the safety of Ndi Anambra. He also pledged to rehabilitate roads in the state as soon as the rains abated.
The Independence Day celebration was marked by a march past by the police and students and a cultural display portraying the rich cultural diversity, strength and unity of Nigeria and the pivotal role of Anambra State in the development of the nation.