Just yesterday, Nigeria celebrated 62 years of Independence. Looking back, those who were there when the new nation was birthed and now concluded that, the country has not recorded any remarkable improvement in terms of progress, politically and economically. Although, out of the 62 years the country existed as a sovereign nation, the military held power for 27 years, and therefore halted genuine growth required in a federal and democratic state. The 1960 Independent Constitution of 1960 was not fully expressed and practiced, unfortunately before the khaki boys struck. Since that time, it has been one story after another in our chequered history as a nation, developmentally. Political pundits hold the opinion that Nigeria is an over grown baby without any tangible thing to show for her existence all these years. Others believe that the country was better of when she had regional government, whereby the three regions competed and developed at their own pace without interference from the centre. Without doubt, Nigeria has missed so many golden opportunities to reach the ‘Promised Land’.
We have also as a nation refused to learn from our mistakes because our problems as a nation are self inflicted. With the current situation, we want to believe that our political leaders currently have enough feedback on how the people feel about them and what they should be doing going forward. The Independent anniversary is an opportunity for sober reflections on our journey to nationhood, our achievements, mistakes and what should be done to make Nigeria attain that enviable height everyone is looking forward to. Where the country must be in future should be of utmost concern, but it appears our efforts are not good enough. Our leaders must begin to be futuristic in their thinking and dealings. The traditional obsession with the next circle of elections as we are entering now is no longer what the people want. Our leaders should begin now to think about the legacies they would leave behind and what the country should become after them.
The commentaries about Nigeria at 62 did not show that the country has done very well at all but still struggling in every sphere of her life. For example, Nigeria is still the only major oil producing country that refines her crude overseas, despite the enormous resources God has blessed the country with. In fact, we are more fixated on crude oil because it brings easy money but even at that, the country is still groaning. We have rubber, timber, cotton, cocoa, palm tree, cashew and other cash crops, yet we blame our failures in oil. The irony of the whole thing is that most Nigerians believe that things were far better during the colonial days than now we have freedom. Our Independence should translate to better life and not the other way round. Time is rife for the leaders to make conscious effort to see that the Nigerian constitution which many believe is very defective should be jettisoned and a new one written that can enable us move forward as a nation. True federalism is still possible if only our leaders too would come down from their high horse because people are no longer ready to compromise the principle of justice and equity that have eluded the citizenry long time ago. The 62 years Independence anniversary calls for reflections both by the leaders and the led if we must move forward as a nation.
…On the campaign by political parties
We are mindful that the Nigeria airwaves in the coming weeks and months would be dominated by campaign jingles and various appealing messages by political parties to woo voters across Nigeria. This is expected now that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), have lifted the ban on campaigns for 2023 general elections. Simply put, next year’s general elections is not going to be like any other election because of the challenges the country is going through, which many believe are man-made. For seven months, public tertiary institutions in the country have remained under lock and key, abductions and kidnappings are now the order of the day, insecurity across the country, unemployment, hunger and deprivation and many more social vices running riot on the street of Nigeria. No thanks to the migrations of skilled Nigerians in different fields to Europe and America who believe there is no future for them and their children in the country.
As the campaign begins, we want issue based campaign and not the usual rhetoric and empty promises of the career politicians, especially those who have not seen that there is fire on the mountain in the society as so many Nigerians cannot afford to feed themselves and their families. Those who want to govern us this time must be ready to answer questions from Nigerians. It must not be business as usual. We would like the politicians to tell us how they will bring the people out of poverty and hunger, how they would fix education, repair decayed infrastructure, create jobs for the unemployed, tackle issues of insecurity, electricity, promote religious tolerance and above all peace and unity amongst the different tribes in Nigeria. These leaders must be held in circumspect because Nigerians are living in unusual times. We also charge the media to ensure that all those who are angling to occupy public offices this time are invited for a debate so that Nigerians could make informed decisions as 2023 general elections draw nearer.