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“Pray for Nigeria” Lagos govt tells residents, cancels annual parades

There were no public parades to commemorate Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Day celebration in Lagos today.


This was as the Lagos State Government ordered the suspension of the annual public parades often organised to celebrate the country’s Independence Anniversary on October 1.

By this, the State Government had defied an age-long practice whereby primary and secondary schools across the nation converge at various centres in their respective states to celebrate the country’s Independence anniversary.

Announcing the suspension in a statement on Sunday, the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso urged residents in the state to rather continue to pray for the progress of the nation.

The statement read in part, “There will be no elaborate celebration of the 63rd Independence Anniversary in Lagos. This is in line with the economic challenges of the times.

“The usual parades and other elements of the celebration are being shelved. “Prayers have been held in mosques and churches to mark the Anniversary.

“The Governor enjoins Lagosians to celebrate modestly, even as they continue to pray for the peace and progress of Nigeria and our dear state.”

Meanwhile, the Anambra State Governor, Chukwuma Soludo has renamed the state’s International Passenger and Cargo Airport after late Chinua Achebe, a novelist, to immortalise him for making an indelible mark on the history of human civilization.

Chinua Achebe was a native of Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government Area of the state. He died on March 21, 2013, at age 82, in Boston, Massachusetts.

According to Governor Soludo who spoke at the Independence Day parade, to mark Nigeria’s 63rd anniversary in Awka on Sunday, described Achebe as an example of Africa’s unsung hero.

“Achebe, a Nigerian novelist, poet, and critic, gave the African literature an identity and a voice and he rightly reconstructed and refined the identify of the people,” he said.

The governor said that Achebe was not just an Anambra hero nor a Nigerian hero, but an African and global hero and yet largely unsung at home.

He said that henceforth, the state shall be deliberate in fishing out and celebrating its largely unsung heroes as motivation to children and youths.

“Unfortunately, some people wrongly think of legacies in terms of brick and mortar. Legacy is about impact on human life and human civilisation.

“Achebe was not a president or governor or military. He did not build bridges or roads or airports but he will outlive most presidents, governors and ministers in our minds.

“Achebe rejected Nigeria’s national honours twice in protest against what he perceived as injustice to his home state Anambra. Today, Anambra will finally honour him.

“After wide consultations, there is a broad consensus that no one is more deserving to be named after the first airport in Anambra than Anambra’s all-time greatest literary gift to the world, Chinua Achebe.

“Consequently, we will rename the Anambra International Cargo and Passenger Airport, Umueri, to Chinua Achebe International Airport, Umueri.

“Yes, it has to be an international airport, and we hope to work with the Federal Government to give full effect to its international status,” he said.

Soludo urged Nigerians to be intentional about making the project Nigeria work and believe in the potential greatness of the country.

“We have muddled through the past 63 years with squandered opportunities and yet with the promise of potential greatness.

“No country or nation is a perfect. Every nation continues to struggle in its match to a more perfect union. The path to stability, growth and sustainability will be challenging as there are no quick fixes.

“But all of us must collectively think and work Nigeria out of the current challenges. We have no other country but Nigeria, and we must make it to work for everyone, “he said.

The governor said his administration was founded on the true progressive agenda and would continue to create the enabling environment for residents to thrive and survive.

NAN reports that the police, paramilitary organisations and students from different schools took part in the parade.

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