Transcript of Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s Independence Day speech
My Good Citizens of Oyo State,
On this occasion of Nigeria Independence Day Anniversary, it is with great joy that I welcome you to this annual celebration and remind you all of the history and antecedents of our great country Nigeria. Today, we Nigerians have every right to be proud of our nation, our history and the compatriots that rose up in unison against the retrogressive forces of the past who did all they could to deter our progress. Indeed their labour was not in vain.
Today, we celebrate not only the history of our country but also the leaders and citizens who have contributed to the fabric of this nation. Like every other country, we have had our fair share of problems and challenges to test our strength, resilience and love for one another, but we have surmounted various challenges and Nigeria is still standing as one united nation today.
The fight to conquer terrorism and insurgency in our country has been a long and hard one but we refuse to give in to terrorist and I implore everyone to keep the faith in the President and the Nigerian Army as they systematically rebuild a peaceful and safe Nigeria.
The backbone of any nation is an educated citizenry and the path to development can only be made smooth by education. That is why one of our foremost goals is to improve the education sector in Oyo State. Even as we move to reform our education sector, we ask that parents should be more engaged in helping Government to work out policies and implement same.
For example, when Government decided to seek parental partnership in provision of fund for educational development, the Parents Association in the State played a prominent role by endorsing the sum of N3,000 per child per annum (N1,000 per child per term) in all Public Secondary Schools. The Body similarly made her voice loud when the decision was made by the Government to review some of the existing educational policies in the State. The level of patriotism was quite commendable. Our children are the future and it would be tragic if years from now we hand over the reins of Nigeria to leaders who are not equipped for true nation building.
Good people of Oyo State, it should be a thing of serious concern to all of us that the State is largely dependent on the Federal Government for our continued existence. The Internally Generated Revenue of the State has not improved. Many of the institutions and industries established in the State and even most citizens have not been performing their civic responsibilities particularly in respect of tax compliance.
The statutory payment of property taxes and other commercial taxes have been cleverly evaded or underestimated. There is therefore the need to do something different to attain an improvement in the area of Internally Generated Revenue in Oyo State. This will definitely call for exploring and tapping new but veritable sources of revenue instead of clinging to familiar arrangements. Government will need the trust, cooperation and confidence of the people to make meaningful improvement in this regard.
To deal with these and other challenges, we need able and dedicated leaders in every sector. We need to encourage more synergy within the dynamics of Public Administration. On our part, we have in the past four and half years embraced and imbibed the doctrine of collective participation “Ajumose” with focus on positive attitudinal and ethical changes that would in turn promote good governance. We must learn to dearly uphold this new orientation and adapt to it. This is a challenge to us in Oyo State.
In going forward, we will continue to open up in a considered and progressive way. There are opportunities for us to interact with those in Government and express ourselves freely but responsibly. We need to see and help solve problems and build a new society where everyone can be what he desires to be. We may not always agree with one another, but we must stay cohesive and united in our common vision.
Let me seize this occasion of our National Day to commiserate with families, friends and associates of Nigerians who lost their lives in Saudi Arabia during this year’s Holy Pilgrimage to Mecca. May Almighty Allah grant the souls of the departed Aljanah Fridaus and accept their pilgrimage as an act of ibadah.
As a new year begins in the life of our country, let us remember to play our role as citizens and implore our friends and colleagues to do same. The fulfilment of our civic responsibilities is an essential ingredient for nation building. It is my responsibility to work for the good of Oyo State and be accountable to the people and it is your responsibility to obey the law. We must ensure that discipline and patriotism form major characteristics of the Nigerian spirit. Let us also uphold the dignity of labour and remain law abiding citizens. You have trusted me to lead you and I would do everything in my power to realize
the Oyo State we all dream of. We will continue to bring positive change to this State so that we can leave it better than we met it.
Let me seize this opportunity to once again reiterate that the foundation for any meaningful social and economic development is maintenance of peace and security. Our Administration has consistently strived to sustain an environment of peace that aided us in our modest developmental efforts. Nothing would be allowed to disturb the peace.
As we celebrate the 55th National Day Anniversary, I implore you all to re-dedicate yourselves to the service of humanity and our fatherland and make Oyo State a place where you can all be the best you can be.
I wish you a happy 55th Independence Celebration.
God bless the people of Oyo State,
God bless Oyo State,
God bless Nigeria.