Nigeria at 60: Time for Sober Reflection and Prayer not Celebration

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By Ahmad Iliyasu Garba

As the nation marks her Diamond Jubilee as a political entity, the fact is not lost on anyone that at no time has the nation been this divided along ethnic and religious lines, the sideshow seems to be controversial.

Historically, independence, as it relates to the nation, refers to a situation of freedom from dependence on or control by another person, organization, or state. With this idea and vision into fight for and gain independence, as the people, a vested interest in propagating this belief, however, knew quite clearly what the implication are for them and the future of the country i.e expression without molestation, association without discrimination, participation without barriers among others.

Nigeria at 60

In the case of Nigeria, the first stage of the struggle for independence started in the 1930s and ended in 1947. It was followed by the second stage in the process of attaining independence which was that of transition, which lasted till 1st October 1960, the day Nigeria became independent of colonial domination.

However, immediately after gaining power, the people realized that they have only won Independence without freedom, as the new leadership continued in the same line with their colonial teachers as they utilized every available means, especially the power of the state to continue to suppress the civil society.

Therefore there is an attempt in examining the role of the state in suppressing the voice of the people in independent Nigeria, through the use of brutal force and intimidation in post-colonial Africa, a situation which is a complete semblance of the colonial culture.

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Nigeria’s underdevelopment is more of a poor implementation than lack of development vision and programmes, policy Summersault and development project abandonment are common.

Political leaders need to be sensitized on putting society’s interest first committing to development visions and programmes. Nigerians need to be sensitized on holding political leaders accountable to campaign promises and development.

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Nigeria which accounts for one-fifth of the population of the African continent is very critical to Africa’s business development, hence this critique focuses on Nigerian underdevelopment arising from failed development vision and programs where there is no vision, the people of Nigeria which account for one-fifth of the population of the African continent is very critical to Africa’s business development, hence this critique focuses on Nigerian underdevelopment arising from failed development vision and programs where there is no vision, the people perish is an aphorism that has become common knowledge among the Nigerian political leaders, who often articulate vision in colorful and expensive development plans, policies and programs.

They are chicken-hearted in the implementation of these plans except to enrich cronies, political stooges, and royal chorister or sycophant, at the end of the tenure, no actualization of the visions, and no regrets for the failure, no review, and no direction.

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Yet, such a non-performing leader often aspires to continue in office even after his tenure has expired, if and when he leaves or step aside or is forced out of the office, the successor jettisons some of the visions of the previous leaders, adds to the list and repeats the circle of chanting visions slogan for in action.

He may even abandon all the programs of the previous leaders for his new ones, or panel beat them to feign some air of originality, ingenuity, and sagacity.
I think our biggest pain as a nation since after independence has been poor governance. We haven’t gotten it right hence there is an infrastructural deficit, alarming unemployment, hunger, poverty, secessionist struggle, etc.

Regarding our greatest gain, I would ascribe it to the presence of a semblance of democracy. Although we haven’t gotten it right yet, I am certain that it is better than a military dictatorship. With regard to the biggest adjustments that need to be done, first, it would be constitutional re-drafting.

This is because the present 1999 Constitution which the nation is structured with is ridden with loopholes and imbalances. Second, would be cutting down the cost of governance. The juicy and attractive packages around our political offices have made the nation to witness the influx of desperate and unsound minds in the corridors of power that stop at nothing in taking and clinging to their desired positions.

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Nigeria is a 60-year-old toddler! It is also better described as a pediatric adult! To be described as such means that at 60, Nigeria is still crawling when its age mates are already grandparents!

“The biggest weakness of Nigeria is the poverty of thought! Nigeria, through its leaders, still reasons like a toddler! This is why myopia is its regular thinking mechanism. A toddler has peculiar needs. .food, sleep, cuddling, and playing! Anything beyond these is a burden. Kids hate burdens.”

Nigeria at 60 has been a consistent tale of disappointments. There is almost nothing to show that we have been making progress. On the economic front, we have the largest number of the poorest people on the globe.

In terms of insecurity, we are the third most terrorized nation on earth, just behind Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the Global Terrorism Index. So, we have very little to celebrate. Our 60th anniversary is a sad reminder of our failings.

We need to restructure immediately to avoid a collision with our failures as that will be a disaster.’ A tale of many misses indeed. But will the incumbent system managers take heed? Time will tell.

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Chila Andrew Aondofa

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