Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has emphasised the need for Nigeria to remain an indivisible entity despite the differences in religion, ethnicity, political affiliations, or other diversities among the citizenry.
Osinbajo, according to a statement by his media aide, Laolu Akande, spoke Sunday at an inter-denominational church service to mark this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration.
He urged Nigerians, both home and in diaspora, to be committed to ensuring Nigeria’s unity, saying the nation is stronger together than being apart.
Osinbajo, who was represented at the church service by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, said Nigerians “must at every opportunity insist that every great multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation has, through thick and thin, fought to realise the great dividends of diversity and pluralism.”
He reiterated the need for Nigerians to, as a mark of honour for the sacrifices of the men and women of the armed forces, show more commitment to the unity of the nation and the task of building a better society.
“The struggle to ensure a more perfect federation is a lifelong enterprise to which each generation must resolutely commit,” he added.
While paying tribute to the departed men and women of the nation’s armed forces, he stated that their sacrifices embody ultimate patriotism as they laid down their lives in the line of duty.
He said: “Drawn from all across the country, these brave men and women of the armed forces have made our nation proud and their lives show us what it means to be patriots. Each one of them reminds us of the timeless words of our national pledge: “to be faithful, loyal and honest, to serve Nigeria with all our strength, to defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory.”
Osinbajo noted that the departed heroes and heroines of the armed forces “fought to preserve the freedom of the nations of the world from totalitarianism in the First and Second World Wars; to keep our Nation and its people as one in the civil war.”
He also praised members of the armed forces, adding that they “laid down their lives in peacekeeping operations on the continent and elsewhere, paid the ultimate price in the fight against the mindless terrorism in the North-east and in defending this land from other threats to security.”
“It is to the memories of these heroes and heroines that we pledge in the words of our national anthem: that “the labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain. That promise that their blood, spilled on the field of battle, will not be wasted, is the burden that we, the living, bear. And it is an onerous one indeed,” he said.
Osinbajo recalled the heroism of the late Ms. Tolulope Arotile, who made history in October 2019 when she was winged as Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot in the 55 years history of the Nigerian Air Force.
“Although her young life was cut short in very unfortunate circumstances, Tolulope lived her dream to join the Nigerian military and along with colleagues from all parts of this nation, to defend the territorial integrity, peace and security of this nation,” he added.
According to him, the nation will always be grateful and proud of the continuing commitment of its young men and women to serving in the armed forces. He said: “This occasion is also one where we celebrate, honour and pray for the families, relations and loved ones of our fallen heroes; those who daily bear the pain and deprivation of their absence. On behalf of Mr. President and the federal government, we once again extend our sincere condolences to you. We pray that the Lord will comfort you and uphold you daily.”