By Abdullahi Muhammed, Abuja
Despite differences in religion, ethnicity and political affiliations, Nigerians of all generations must endeavour to commit to ensuring the country’s unity, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has said.
Speaking at the Interdenominational Church Service for the 2021 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration held at the National Christian Centre in Abuja on Sunday, Osinbajo said the nation is stronger together than apart.Represented at the Church service by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, Osinbajo said Nigerians “must at every opportunity insist that every great multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation has, through thick and thin, fought to realize the great dividends of diversity and pluralism.”
He said there was 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 said.
While paying tribute to the departed men and women of the nation’s Armed Forces, Osinbajo said their sacrifices embody ultimate patriotism as they laid down their lives in the line of duty.
“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,”” he said.
He said 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.“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.
The Vice President also 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 of existence 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 restated.
He said the nation would always be proud of the continuing commitment of the young men and women of the Armed Forces.
“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,” he said.