We, all members of the People’s Democratic League (PDL) wish to express our thanks and gratitude to God Almighty for given us the strength, wisdom and courage to felicitate Nigeria on her 62ndIndependence Anniversary.
Despite the unending brutalities unleashed by the Boko Haram terror outfit, Nigerians are once again lined up to proudly celebrate their Independence Day, with the determination to move forward towards a peaceful, politically stable, thriving, inclusive democracy and a prosperous tomorrow.
The unity and solidarity of all Nigerians was their undefeatable strength in winning independence from the colonial rulers on 1st October 1960. That is to say, the explication of freedom in the hearts and minds of the Nigerian people at that time was so strong that it could not be shattered by artificial crises such as religion, ethnicity, terrorism or political Party.
These day-to-day refreshes the enthusiasm and rejuvenate the Nigerian people resolved to work for the good of their country. It also inspires them to serve their country and raise their green, white and green flag, which symbolises hope and prosperity for all Nigerians and Africans everywhere. It is indeed a time for celebration, and to join our Nigerian Brothers and Sisters to celebrate their independence with pride, and to rekindle the hopes and aspirations of the African continent.
Independence Day of Nigeria is a national holiday observed in that giant nation on 1st October of every year. The day celebrates Nigeria’s Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 1st October 1960.
Nigeria is a blessing of Almighty God and a haven for all Africans, both at home and abroad. The founding fathers of Nigeria waged a unique struggle and gave unparalleled sacrifices for achieving independence for their country and for succeeding generations of Nigerians.
Now we believe it is time for Nigeria to take its responsibility on the international stage to catapult Africa amongst the comity of developed regions. We urge the Nigerian political body to work towards shaping Nigeria according to the dreams of its founding fathers and to achieve this objective there should be good relations, harmony and brotherhood among all strata of the Nigerian society. Politics, greed, tribalism, religious bigotry and the Boko Haram terrorism must not be allowed to destroy the unity of the Nigerian nation.
It is heartening that the new generation of Nigerians is imbibed with the love of their country and is filled with a patriotic zeal to work for progress and its development. Yet, it is necessary that Nigerians should see themselves as One and Indivisible Nigeria.
National days are celebrated with the purpose of renewing political covenants with the people, particularly about making Nigeria the pride of Africa and Africans everywhere; to ensure the dividends of independence and inclusive democratic self-rule. We are of the belief that the vision and mission for the New Nigeria is to rekindle its glorious past and make the giant of Africa work again, by keeping aside personal interests.
The name Nigeria had its root from the thought of Flora Shaw, the wife of Lord Frederick John Dealtry Lugard– a once British soldier who led Nigeria towards amalgamation. Flora drew inspiration from the great river Niger and combined the words ‘Niger’ and ‘Area’ to form Nigeria. Lord Lugard was Governor of Hong Kong (1907–1912), the last Governor of Southern Nigeria Protectorate (1912–1914), the first High Commissioner (1900–1906) and last Governor (1912–1914) of Northern Nigeria Protectorate and the first Governor-General of Nigeria (1914–1919).He died in England on April 11,1945, at the age of 87.
Back home in Sierra Leone, the peace and democracy we enjoy today could not have been achieved without the support of the people of Nigeria and all members-states of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States). Nigeria gave refuge to the People’s Democratic League (PDL) and its leadership in 1989-1992.
Less than a year, on June 24, 2023, Sierra Leoneans will go to the polls to vote for compatriots they trust can save them from drowning further into the deep ocean of poverty. In other words, Sierra Leoneans will go to the polls in 2023 to vote for leaders who can operate on principles that ally with democracy, and address fairly and justly the demands and aspiration of the Sierra Leonean nation.
The lack of level playing field in the registration of political parties in the country is creating a frenzy of political uncertainty, and deliberate attempt to exclude Sierra Leoneans from the democratic process and development of Sierra Leone.We are concern that the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and ECOWAS and other international organizations are setting aside valid concerns about the nature of exclusion in the electoral process, which to all intents and purpose constitute a threat to peace and political stability in Sierra Leone.
We call on our Nigerian Brothers and Sisters and in particular the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR to do more than talk to see that the 2023 elections in Sierra Leone are free, fair, inclusive and credible, and should not be allowed to be hijacked by faithless, ungodly and corrupt politicians.
The exclusion of the People’s Democratic League in the 2018 general elections, for instance, was political and not in the interests of Sierra Leone, neither Africa nor the wider global community. It undermines the important works of the United Nations, the European Union, the African Union and ECOWAS and other international organizations, as it is at variance with the July 1999 Lome Peace Accord, as well as the recommendations of the Sierra Leonean Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)-all these documents identified exclusion as the main cause of the country’s brutal civil war in the 1990s.
On this occasion of Nigeria’s 62nd Independence Day, we call of all Nigerians, including the Federal Government in Abuja to exert pressure to bear on the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) in Freetown to end its policy of discrimination, hatreds and exclusion in the registration of political parties in Sierra Leone. The brutal injustice meted on PDL registration shows no sign of abating. The PPRC has taken no steps to end its policy of exclusion of Sierra Leoneans in the democratic process.
We are Sierra Leoneans; we are peaceful, patriotic and law-abiding citizens of Sierra Leone and we carry Sierra Leonean identity. We would like to assure the Government and people of Nigeria that we will not abandon our democratic principles and values. We, at the PDL do not believe in what political pundits will say: ‘No lawless bureaucracy, no lawless public’.
As we shared commonalities with our Nigerian Brothers and Sisters, we will continue to build upon our commitment to peace, democracy, and democratic good governance, human rights and freedom as we work together as Africans to face some of the most challenging regional and global issues, from the Libyan genocide campaign to the foreign terrorists’ brutalities in Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, South Soudan, and Mozambique, etc. We challenge Nigeria and all Nigerians to place Nigeria in the global community as the pride of Africa and Africans everywhere.
On this occasion therefore, we reiterate our call for the just and democratic restructuring of the United Nations system, to ensure equality of representation in the world body. We call on all African members-states of the United Nations to adopt a unified action plan to pressure for democratisation of the world body. We support Nigeria’s permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council. Africans deserve better treatment in the global community. This must not only be our hope and dream; it must be the foundation of who we are as a people, as a race, created by God Almighty.
The feeling of being free and independent always fills people with pride and a sense of purpose for life. We are sure all Nigerians, in and outside Nigeria have the same feeling. On that, we say to all Nigerians-celebrate your freedom as your forefathers earned with much sweat of their brows. And live that freedom with a sense of commitment towards your nation. We join you all in your joyful celebrations. Freedom so fragile so vulnerable, protect it with all your power.
We extend a peaceful and safe independence weekend to all Nigerians.
Happy belated Independence Day!
(Chief) Alimamy Bakarr Sankoh
Founding Father, Leader and National Chairman
The People’s Democratic League (PDL), Sierra Leone
For and on behalf of members of PDL.