Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, yesterday, said Nigeria needed strong leadership to tackle the enormous challenges bedevilling the nation.
He also called for stronger ties amongst the various ethnic and religious groups for peace and unity in the country.
Wike spoke during the Juma’at service in commemoration of the 61st independence anniversary of Nigeria held at the State Central Mosque, Niger Street, Port Harcourt.
Represented by his Special Adviser on School Sports, Dr. Okiri Mohammed, Governor Wike called for the unity of the country, particularly at this point that she facing several challenges.
“This independence of Nigeria is about the unity and strength of the country. Nigeria is passing through a perilous time and it requires strong leadership. It requires faith, and collectively we can achieve peace when we come together by the grace of God.”
Wike urged the people of Rivers State to support the government in the battle against the Federal Government as regards the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT).
The Sole Administrator, Rivers State Muslims Pilgrims Board, Abdul-Razak Diepreye, lamented the security challenge facing the nation and called on the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government to come up with strong policies that would allow states to become economically viable.
Diepreye lauded Governor Wike for challenging the illegality of the Federal Government collecting VAT on behalf of the state governments.
“The nation is having serious security challenges. The APC-led Federal Government should be able to come up with necessary economic relief for this nation.
“I thank the governor of Rivers State for setting the pace in the history of this country. I wholeheartedly support him on this issue of VAT and I believe a lot of well-meaning Nigerians are also in support,” the sole administrator said.
In his message titled, “To Keep Hope Alive”, the Imam, Port Harcourt Central Mosque, Malik Yahaya, noted the sacrifices made by the forefathers in fighting for the independence of the nation.