Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said Nigerians should not lose hope because of the present economic recession, saying there is still cause for celebration as the nation marks its 56th Independence anniversary.
Atiku said the anniversary of the nation’s independence is not a time for grief or regret.
The former Vice President, in his independence anniversary message, said: “Nigeria is marking her 56th birthday at a time of turbulent economic crisis. This may cause some citizens of our country to feel that all hope is lost, that there is nothing worth celebrating.
“However, this current crisis is not a time for grief, regret or recrimination. It is an opportunity for all of us to roll up our sleeves and support the government in the arduous task of revitalizing the core elements of our national economy.”
He said without doubt, “We are witnessing an increasing loss of foreign confidence in the ability of Nigerians to resolve the economic downturn. There has been a slowdown of badly needed foreign investment, which has decelerated economic development that is so essential to the well-being of the ordinary Nigerian.
“The average Nigerian is worried about the state of things and yearning for a vibrant economy within a peaceful and stable environment so that he/she can carry on with daily endeavours to make ends meet.”
However, Atiku said the “time demands that we cut our coat according to our cloth, but more than anything else it demands that we lend a helping hand to one another and form a formidable coalition to push back the recession.
“We didn’t come to this state by our own choice. True, we might have made some mistakes in not being frugal at the time of surplus; it may also be true also that our policy makers kept on living in denial when this recession could have been nipped in the bud.
“But the mistake we must not make at the moment is to imagine that the antidote to this current crisis lies with any one man/woman or the government alone. We all must come together as patriots to fight back this ugly situation.”
He said that despite “our litany of problems and divergent agitations, I am confident and full of abiding faith that the Nigeria of today is faced with great opportunities, immediately and in the near future. We are making significant headway in our fight against the scourge of corruption.
“We are at the zenith of producing our own food and aggressively diversifying our economy. We are in the process of empowering our youths and adequately subsidizing our small business owners.
“We are ensuring massive harvesting and full utilization of all of our natural resources. These are lofty goals and great challenges, but I am confident that, together, we can accomplish them with ease. No problem is insurmountable if we embrace peace and eschew those views that divide us as a nation.
“Governments, corporations and private businesses must do all they can to ensure that people keep their jobs. Despicable as this moment may be, it must call to task the creativity of our young people to innovate and create unique opportunities. We must fight back at this recession on our own terms. We must never allow it to defeat our creative prowess or set us back on terms that we are not prepared for.
“Fifty-six years ago when our heroes negotiated our independence from colonial authorities, the immediate threat before us as a budding country was how to establish a political order that would be enduring and serve the needs of our people. Several years down the line and in spite of the very many upsets along the way, we have been able to establish a democratic political order that has made our governments predictably periodic and more accountable.
“I have spent a lifetime fighting for our citizens inside and outside the government, and I stand on this day of pride to assure all Nigerians that we shall all face the challenges together. This I know is not a job for one man/woman but a job for all of us.”
The former Vice President said he supports President Muhammadu Buhari in his quest to right the turbulent ship of Nigeria. “I call on all Nigerians to join hands and unite behind the common goal of making Nigeria a great nation in our lifetime.
“My belief in Nigeria is unflinching and my optimism is boundless. We must get our country on the right path to greatness. Failure is not an option!
“Right now, the challenge before us is to create an enduring economic order that will not only accommodate and reward the entrepreneurial instinct of Nigerians, but one that will guarantee prosperity for us all.
“And this moment, as ugly and despicable as it may seem, is our best take off opportunity for a long marathon to a new and brighter economic dawn,” Atiku stated.