The Federal Government last night flagged off activities marking Nigeria’s centenary, insisting that the events were being sponsored by private sector players and not government.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation Anyim Pius Anyim, who spoke at a ceremony in Abuja, said government came up with innovative ways of sourcing private funding for the events, which are meant to celebrate the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates in January 1914.
He said the celebration would usher in a new phase in the country’s psyche which will see pessimism replaced with optimism.
Also speaking, President Goodluck Jonathan said Nigeria’s future remained bright despite the challenges. He said what makes the country great is not its resources but the diversity of its people.
The ceremony was attended by former leaders Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, Shehu Shagari, Muhammadu Buhari and Abdulsalami Abubakar.
Gowon, who unveiled the centenary logo which was designed by Abubakar Ahmadu Abdullahi, prayed for the centenary to “remind us that our darkest hours are behind us and that our best days are still ahead of us.”
He added that the event is a “salient reminder that as an entity our unity and oneness are non-negotiable, that bound together, Nigeria will truly come to experience peace, progress and prosperity.”
For his part, Obasanjo, who delivered the theme of the centenary “One Nigeria, Great Promise”, said an indivisible Nigeria must work to overcome its challenges to achieve its potentials.
“Without a doubt, only one Nigeria can guarantee the promise of a great future for us all. Yes, there are challenges. I believe that for almost 170 million people working together in truth, commitment and determination, we can restore trust in good governance and build a progressive nation. Together, and with unity as our beacon, we can forge all our peoples into a nation of great promise and a great future,” he said.
Abubakar said the centenary calls for “deeper reflection patriotism and sacrifice.”
Senate President David Mark unveiled the centenary logo which will run till June while the Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Waziri Tambuwal unveiled the centenary portal.
Anyim announced that an investors forum will hold today in Abuja, as part of the funds generation efforts for the project.