Wednesday, Nigeria marked 48 years of independence from British colonial
rule. President Umaru Yar'Adua is asking Nigerians to renew their faith
and transform their country into a strong, stable, and democratic nation. He is
calling on them to make Nigeria a major player on the global stage by 2020.
President Yar'Adua pledged to promote a culture of prudence, diligence and
accountability in governance.
many Nigerians continue to express frustration over widespread hunger,
unemployment and the pace of development.
John Odey is Nigeria's minister of information and communications. He says despite some setbacks, the country
has a lot to celebrate. "For
us, it is a landmark; for us, it is an important event. It is an important
event because it is an inspiration for all of us Nigerians. It has both
economic and political significance for us. Our country has a blessed existence
and we are celebrating it. We appreciate God for it and also, too, we are
reflecting on our achievements so far and all our challenges and are looking
back at our past heroes and what they have done for us and how we can
consolidate upon it."
Chief Odey says the government is working very hard
to improve and upgrade crumbling infrastructures countrywide. "This
administration, we do not want to shy away from the problem or from the
challenges. There are huge challenges for all the various sectors of the
economy. We realize that is why we have the seven-point agenda that will deal
with the critical sectors of the economy, particularly power and energy that
can leverage the growth of the entire economy."
Odey says government has made progress in re-positioning the country's economy
for investors. "Business environment is of course improving day by day and
there are clear indications that the business environment is improving, the
economy is doing well and we have been able to stabilize the economy as well."