As Nigerians continue to mark the 59th independence anniversary of the country, Oyo state Governor Seyi Makinde has called for a change of orientation on the part of all Nigerians by ensuring they put national interests first and above all what he described as “egocentric concepts” that negates the progress of the country.

Stressing that the Independence Day celebration used to be marked with funfair, the governor added that this year’s edition calls for moments of sober reflections on the state and the nation at large.

Makinde gave the charge on Tuesday at the main bowl of the Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan in an address after a commemorative march past led by officers of the Oyo State Command of the Nigerian Police Force.

The march past which is the peak of weeklong events organised by the State Government to celebrate the nation at 59 was witnessed by members of the State Executive Council, top government functionaries, the speaker of the state house of assembly, Mr Adebo Ogundoyin, who led other lawmakers, the state chief judge, Muntar Abimbola who led other members of the judiciary, commissioners, special advisers, heads of ministerial and extra ministerial boards, agencies and parastatals.

Others are traditional rulers, security heads, religious leaders, public and private schools, paramilitary organisations, trade groups, artisans among others.

Makinde who was represented by his deputy, Mr Rauf Olaniyan however assured that notwithstanding the plethora of challenges facing the country, his administration will continue to chart the course that will launch Oyo state into a land of great investments with economic opportunities and agricultural development.

He used the opportunity of the occasion to solicit for the cooperation of the people of the state with his government, promising that he would ensure that all parts of the state is given a sense of belonging in the scheme of things, across religious or political divides.

Makinde said, “The Independence Day Celebration used to be marked with funfair, but this edition calls for moments sober reflections on the state and the nation at large.

“There is a need to change our orientation to put national interest first above all egocentric concepts that negate the progress of the nation

“The present administration in Oyo state will continue to chart a course that will launch Oyo state into a land of great investments with economic opportunities and agricultural development, so that the state in the not too distant future will be a state of pride to us as before.

“Welfare programmes will be our focus in order to create a good life for all the citizens of Oyo state as we pursue our four policy thrust of agricultural development and its value chain, health, education and security.

“We have a genuine desire to embark on aggressive strategy on mechanized agriculture and agricultural value chain that would not only provide employment for our people but one that would make Oyo State the Food Basket of the Nation.

“In order to achieve a greater level of educational development, we must invest in all-round development of our opportunity for self-development self- reliance and self-actualization by exposing them to trainings that will assist them to become patriotic and responsible citizens in the society.

“Hence the intervention programme flagged-off with the distribution of textbooks and exercise books to all the schools in Oyo state.

“I use the occasion of this year’s celebration to seek the cooperation of all progressive minded people, civil servants, artisans, stakeholders, political leaders and followers. We shall accommodate all interest to ensure that every part of the state have a sense of belonging indifference to political or religious inclination

“As Nigeria celebrates her 59th Independence Anniversary today, I congratulate us and pray that at our time, the dream of Eldorado is achieved. I wish you all a happy low key independence celebration.”

Highpoint of the event includes cultural performance, distribution of prizes for winners at the march past, as well as for essay writing competitions and debate which held earlier.

The event which was witnessed by a large turnout of the members of the public despite the early morning shower also saw heavy presence of security operatives.