Nigeria at 59-Only The Beneficiaries of the Lapses in Governance have a reason to Celebrate-Prof. Olagoke

IndexAs Nigeria clocks 59 on Tuesday, 1st October, 2019, millions of Nigerians insist that there is no cause to celebrate.

They lament that thousands of lives have been lost as a result of the insecurity in the land, while widespread hunger and poverty have taken root in millions of homes. Corruption is not abating, even though the Federal Government claims to be winning the anti-graft fight. In this interview the Founder Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke opines that those who benefited from the bad governance in the country have cause to celebrate Nigeria’s independence.

Excerpts :

Nigeria will be 59 on October 1st, is there any reason to celebrate ?

Celebration is of two fold, celebration with fanfare and glamour, as a result of chains of achievements, in terms of basic amenities and infrastructure and competitive human development index, that should be almost at par with that of the developed countries. The other side has to do with sober reflection, whereby the wailers will bring us back to how to regain our lost strength and wasted opportunities. The wailers will need to continue to challenge us on the need to make amends to minimize the weaknesses and possible areas of threats for Nigeria, we have lost all virtues, while dancing naked in the market of shame. For example, education was very functional at a time, we were pressing for independence, with emphatic no to colonialism. Collectively we forget about our ethnic differences and shunned tribal sentiments to have our way to the reality of independence on October 1, 1960.

We started with the parliamentary system with a federal system of weak center, to give each region, the liberty to develop on their own, capitalizing on the peculiar value chains, which could be summarily transformed into the North for hides and skins and groundnut pyramids.

The West, with cocoa and coffee among other agricultural products, while the East was known for the best quality of coal,as well as palm produce.

In the area of mineral resources, bitumen and asphalt of the best quality as well as other mineral, resources like gold, lead and various rock types for cement production. What about iron and steel ? The regional management of this, made Nigeria excel with high export index, making our currency to be above the Dollar and at par with the Pound Sterling.

Development became competitive with the West as a pacesetter of development in functional infrastructure. For example, the cocoa house as one of the tallest buildings, the Liberty stadium, WNTV and WNBS, network of good roads and in the area of human capital development,with the first woman drive a car, in the person of the late Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, who championed the cause of women.

The first Chief Justice of the Federation from the West and we have the history of Herbert Macaulay been the early and First Engineer. All these series of achievements were replicated in the North and in the East, making the nation be project focused for the development of the country.

Emerging politicians were with ideological goals, unlike these days, when service in office is been replaced by self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment.

How did we now find ourselves in the appalling situation ? This could be ascribed to the following observations :

After independence, we reverted to our ethnic and tribal inclinations, losing focus of the unity of Nigeria and resorting to al under hand methods in power sharing.

Nigeria experienced 29 years of military rule, during this period the economy was battered, while ideological goals were lost.

The economic profile became jeopardized with ever increasing poverty indices, 15 per cent in 1966, 28.8 per cent in 1983, with subsequent characteristic arithmetic progression of 42 per cent, 54 per cent, 65 per cent and in 1999 at 70 per cent.

The economic class lost that of the middle package through the political regime of poverty and the upper regime was now controlled by less than 2 per cent, who govern, through kleptocracy, deviating from the normal norm of justice, equity, divinity, peace, sustainable development, security, transparency and accountability demanded by democracy.

Under these conditions, the celebration of Nigeria’s 59th independence anniversary would be ridiculous to those in the international community, which had expected us to be a role model for other countries in Africa, in terms of good governance.

Let us be reminded of the fact that the environment in which democracy could thrive, includes when there is the culture of having respect for the fundamental human rights of the people. If we are to go by the experiences in the land, human rights violations abound in various forms leading us into a poor environment of endemic corruption and impunity or institutional indiscipline.

Derisively too, when we claim to hold elections, it is yet to be free and fair, though winners do emerge. Worse still, there is fundamental ethnic coloration the way we treat the emerging leaders.

In the religious terrain, those with contrary religious beliefs are bickering, while development continues to suffer.

Unfortunately, the cost of governance is always too high for the overhead to consume the budget, while capital projects continue to suffer from set backs.

Nigeria’s image abroad has continued to be questionable while insecurity at home does not justify government’s defense of Nigerians held in jails, decapitated or been tried for various drug offenses.

The process of reconstruction, reconciliation and rehabilitation after the civil war had a carry over of lapses which has resulted in several agitations and secession threats, with all the groups hiding under the guise of restructuring.

Beneficiaries of the lapses in governance are now owners of universities, without having anything to do with academics, but are into it for commercial purposes.

Various projects were built in other African countries and abroad by the cabals and cartels at the expense of the welfare of all Nigerians, majority of whom live in poverty in the midst of abundant natural resources.

Was President Donald Trump not right about his definition of Nigerians and his perspective about Africans ?

Nigeria needs total overhauling.


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