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Nigeria at 58: Still work in progress

Nigeria at 58: Still work in progress

At 58 years, Nigeria as a nation has so many reasons to celebrate her political independence from her colonial mastersNigeria as a nation state has overcome many challenges and obstacles just as it has won many battles as to remain one indivisible country with defined geographical boundaries. No person should take these achievements for granted .

This explains the resolve of the country to continuously honour those who sacrificed their lives to not only achieve the independence which we are celebrating today but to include those who fought hard to maintain the unity of the country. They include the heroes of the 1966 to 1970 civil war. To be mentioned also are the men and officers currently prosecuting the Boko Haram insurgency as well as the officers who lost their lives in the air simulation exercise preparatory to the 2018 independency anniversary celebration. They, among others are our heroes whose labour shall never be in vain.

October 1st of every year provides an opportunity to reflect on the nation’s unity, patriotism and commitment to nation-building.
President Muhammadu Buhari had during Nigeria’s 57th independency anniversary last year listed what the administration tagged 57 milestones of the regime. The achievements were listed under different categories that included security and related matters, economy, anti-graft war and others.Topping the list of Buhari’s achievement under security, according to the document, is the release of 106 Chibok girls, as well as taking as captives over 16,000 Boko Haram members.

Other achievements under security are tackling insurgency, decimation of Boko Haram in the North East, recovering of 14 local governments and territories previously under Boko Haram’s control in the North East, rebuilding lives of citizens there, with about one million displaced persons in the region returning to their communities in two years of this administration.On economy, the document listed the implementation of the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan to aid economic recovery and taking the country out of her worst recession in 29 years, despite fall in oil prices.It noted that N1.2trn was expended on capital/infrastructure projects nationwide, describing it as a milestone in the nation’s history.

It also mentioned the effective implementation of the Treasury Single Account, and increasing government revenue by over N3trn as well as entrenching transparency and accountability.We take it that the Buhari administration is functioning as a continuation of previous regimes in achieving this much. However, if we put Nigeria in a scale with other nations who were less endoured with the much of human and material resources at the disposal of the country, we will be tempted to conclude that Nigeria deserves more. Taiwan with less mineral resources turned her population into her renewable resources thus standing out as one of the Asian tigers.

After 58 long years, Nigeria’s political class is yet to get the nation’s priority right hence the lamentations in the land.
The current standard and condition of living of most Nigerians suggest that things could have been better for the citizenry in the last 58 years considering the enormous human and material resources for which Nigeria is the envy of most civilized nations. It beats every logic as to why Nigeria and her industrious population could not be ranked among the most prosperous countries in the world. Today, Nigeria is lagging behind countries like Rwanda and Botswana on the table of investment destination hubs in Africa.
Proven shocking statistics and personal stories have crippled Nigerians with fear, loss of will, and helplessness. There is the worrisome believe that Nigeria cannot survive as a human and humane society for long given the evils that Nigerians contend with daily. This should not be the story of Nigeria 58 years after it stirred hope and optimism of stepping forward as Africa’s leading light.

Most Nigerians are yet to be convinced that the recklessness on the part of the political class, maladministration at all levels of governance, lingering dearth of infrastructure, the prevailing abysmally low per capital income of Nigerians, high level of unemployment and under employment, Nigeria’s poor ranking among comity of nations leading to capital flight and low inflow of Foreign Direct Investment and threat of dismembering the nation against the backdrop of widening ethnic divide should be the lot of the country.

Things don’t seem to be getting better. In fact, things may be getting worse in terms of security, inflation, cost and standard of living, value of the average citizen’s life, jobs, education and healthcare among others. We are indeed worried.The regime of President Buhari has a moral burden to make life better for Nigerians against the backdrop of his election on the change mantra and his perceived anti corruption and high moral standing.

It is his capacity to stand up to current challenges in the country that will, among other political considerations define the success of his re-election bid. There must be a stop to the current tendencies of playing politics with every issue. We are of the opinion that Nigerian leaders are playing politics with the issue of security in the face of the slanting of the root causes of the avalanche of killings in the land. Plateau, Benue, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Borno, Taraba among other states of the federation are still considered killing fields.

Regretfully, Nigeria at 57 still remains a country of nations brought together by the fiat of the European Nations in Berlin in 1885. This is in spite of the efforts made by our founding fathers who met several times in Lacanster House, London and agreed on a constitution, that would not only unite the country but would have molded the country into a nation. Today, 58 years into our nationhood, the sing song is restructuring even when many of the proponents are known to stand logic on its head which pushing blindly with their ulterior motives.

We are more worried that Nigeria’s economy is at the risk of sliding into another recession despite the perceived growth which the economy recorded in 2017. The organized private sector which sign posts the health of the economy said the challenges are not yet over as the manufacturing sector is still on the brink of recession. Cost of living is not reflective of the lowering trend of inflection.

We demand that both the federal and state government should engage in purposeful dialogue with militant groups to douse tension in the land if Nigeria must continue to attract the attention of the international business community. It is sad that Nigeria is again losing more territories to armed militia. The raising number of Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria presents the nation as a country that is at war with itself. It is unacceptable to us.

Nigeria and her leaders must create the disposition of a country ruled by laws. Breach of contractual obligations should be the exception and not the norm as Nigeria tends to presently portray.We are of the opinion that Nigeria should harp more on things that binds the nation than divide her. Top on this shelve is the amplification of the concept of federal character in key appointments considering Nigeria’s diversity as captured in the current regional political structure.

Efforts at reducing the cost of governance would be appreciated. Welfare of the ordinary Nigerian should be of paramount importance. It is in canvassing this view that we suggest the return to parliamentary system of government as practiced between 1960 and 1966 where official legislators receive only sitting allowances thus making politics less attractive but appreciated by people with genuine interest to serve.

The executive, legislature and the judiciary have a duty to convince Nigerians that power resides with them to the extent that they would be allowed the free hand to chose Nigeria’s next generation of leaders who, presumably will be sincere enough as to put the country on the part of regeneration. Nigeria has all the trappings and characteristics of a great nation capable of offering equal opportunities to all within the confines of the constitution.

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