Nigeria At 54: So Far, So..?


By Raymond Oise-Oghaede

It has been 54 years since Nigeria attained independence from the British Colonialists and if a thorough assessment of the situation on ground is anything to go by, it would not be out of place to say that we are still far from the dreams our founding fathers craved and tirelessly laboured to achieve. Though we have experienced several military interventions in the course of our journey, the fact remains that the country has not really made convincing achievements as had been expected. Succeeding administrations have contributed their quotas in one way or the other to the development of the country but the negative impact overshadows the positive.  Thus, the country is rather retrogressing than progressing and gradually sliding into a state of confusion and uncertainties. The vigour, patriotic zeal and commitment which were some of the guiding principles of our leaders in the pre-independence era have since vanished and have been replaced by selfishness, corruption, greed, mediocrity and a host of others. The country is now plagued by all sorts of societal vices as a result of these factors.

There is hardly any sector of the polity that has not been infected with large scale problems which have crippled the economy with no succour in sight and it would amount to an effort in futility if we should delve into details because they are consistently growing. However, critical evaluation of all these problems reveals that they are offshoots of bad governance and or the unpatriotic tendencies of the majority of the citizenry. Today, corruption has eaten deep into the system; infrastructure have decayed to the extent that most roads are so terribly bad that they are being painted with human blood on a daily basis; a good number of manufacturing industries and small scale businesses have been grounded because of lack of power supply and the cut-throat interest and other charges that the financial institutions place on credit facilities; the youths have resorted to armed robbery, kidnapping, ritual killings, street cultism, election malpractices and violence, terrorism and other criminal activities because of the alarming rate of unemployment. Good food and decent shelter have become like a mirage to millions of people and the much expected dividends of democracy are not forthcoming and the future seems bleak for the generations to come because of the callousness of some people. Ironically, the country is blessed with adequate manpower and natural resources that could make her compete with most of the western countries in terms of development.The situation is very unfortunate and worrisome and requires urgent attention before it finally gets out of hand. Pointing fingers or trading blames at this point will be baseless because we are all in it together and should be prepared to take up the gauntlet to right the wrongs with the aim of making the country the pride of the black race.

Nigerians should begin to see themselves as one. It is high time we shunned tribal, religious, gender and class sentiments and focused more on coming together to tackle our problems as one indivisible family. We must support the government in forging the way forward. We should all start imbibing the principle of assisting one another at every given opportunity because this will give succour and hope to the less privileged and help in reducing crime and other vices in our society. We should not always wait for election period before knowing that the people are hungry and disgruntled to deserve temporary reprieves because of their votes.

The people in power should embrace patriotic and committed approaches in the execution of their responsibilities. They should desist from using their elective positions  to repay their ‘god fathers’ and cronies. Rather, they should try as much as possible to embark on programmes that will alleviate the sufferings of the masses and thereby make the dividends of democracy to go round. We should discourage a situation where a good percentage of the budget meant for developmental programmes are diverted into private accounts for selfish purposes. We should always allow ourselves to be guided by the fact that it is only God Almighty that made it possible for us to be wherever we are and use the opportunity to judiciously appreciate His goodness, mercies and kindness over us. If we continue to engage in wrongdoings without giving a hoot, then His wrath is definitely hanging over our heads. The politicians should also have the interest of the citizenry at heart.

Members of the opposition should also desist from the ‘pull him/them down tactics and also stretch the hands of friendship to support the efforts of the people in government for the good of all and sundry. The people should not be seen as fools and taken for granted because they know all these intrigues and are waiting for the right time to embark on democratic revolution. The proponents of ‘do or die politics’ should have a rethink and desist from the practice so that the country would start experiencing the benefits of playing politics without bitterness because there are no permanent friends or foes but, permanent interest.

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Another important factor is the impoverishment of our youths by the bourgeois and the privileged few who have turned the wealth of the nation to their family inheritances. This has pushed the majority of the youths to embracing crimes and other vices. It is high time these enemies of progress loose their grips on our common-wealth before nemesis catches up with them because they are gaining from the pains of the masses.

The time is ‘NOW’ when our youths should also liberate themselves from the evil manipulations and influences of these self-acclaimed movers and shakers of the country by saying ‘NO’ to criminal activities. We should resolve to explore all available avenues to contribute our quotas to the development of Nigeria and making her great again.

To those who have turned corruption to their surnames and have continuously enriched themselves to the detriment of the country’s progress, this is also the time to desist from such act so that the commonwealth will be used for the common good of the people.

‘Happy Independence Anniversary’. The labour of our founding fathers and the positive and patriotic efforts of the present generation shall never be in vain. Amen.

•Oise-Oghaede wrote from Lagos. E-mail: [email protected]

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