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State of the nation: Edo Dep Gov, Justices Aniagolu, Akanbi, Balarabe Musa differ

Posted by By MARIAM AGBOOLA (Jos), GODDY OSUJI (Enugu), KENNY ASHAKA (Kaduna), NWAGBO NNENYELIKE (Ilorin), EMMANUEL ADEYEMI (Lokoja), TONY OSAUZO (Benin), AKEEB ALARAPE (Ibadan) & GEOFFREY ANYANWU (Awka) on 2006/10/02 | Views: 462 |

State of the nation: Edo Dep Gov, Justices Aniagolu, Akanbi, Balarabe Musa differ

As the country marks its 46th Independence Anniversary today, Nigerians from different backgrounds weekend took a retrospective look at governance over the years and returned a mixed verdict.

As the country marks its 46th Independence Anniversary today, Nigerians from different backgrounds weekend took a retrospective look at governance over the years and returned a mixed verdict.

In fact, while some say that there is nothing worth celebrating, a few are of the opinion that the country has not done badly, given its peculiar circumstances.

However, they seem to agree that there could have been compelling reasons to toast and clink glasses, were the country lucky to produce visionary leaders all these years.
Such leaders, they argue, would have put the country on the part of prosperity.

Alhaji Yahaya Kwande
A former Ambassador of Nigeria to Switzerland and a chieftain of the Action Congress (AC) in Plateau State, Alhaji Yahaya Kwande argued that Nigeria has retrogressed exceedingly.
In a veiled reference to the quarrel between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the envoy said that the recent happenings in the polity have taken the country back to pre-independence era.
Though Kwande acknowledged that infrastructure such as roads, schools and hospitals had increased numerically, he insisted that they were not enough indices to rate the country as having developed in those areas since the attainment of independence exactly 46 years ago.
The situation, according to him, has gotten so bad that the citizens’ patriotism sometimes wanes, as they no longer pride in their nationality.
He described as unfortunate the situation where enormous resources were accruing to the nation while the people wallow in abject poverty.
Said he: “The level of insincerity in Nigeria is too much. It is getting to that stage that the people will no longer be able to tolerate.”

Justice Anthony Aniagolu
In his own assessment, retired jurist of the Supreme Court, Justice Anthony Aniagolu said: “I tell you that Nigeria has been a failure for the past 46 years. We are only praying to God to intervene and help us, and then we will come out as God himself has determined that we are going to be the leader of Africa. If only we pray to God and give ourselves to Him, I am certain that Nigeria will lead the African continent. For us to attain that, we should improve on truth and honesty.
“Yes is yes, no is no, we haven’t got in Nigeria. Truth is the honesty. We must know that in this country, that unless we put God before us we will never succeed. I believe in Almighty God, I don’t believe in Obasanjo or no Obasanjo. Almighty God is the beginning and the end. If He puts his hands on Nigeria, things will work out well. I believe that God has started putting his hands in the affairs of Nigeria by the dissolution of the third term agenda. And having done that, He will see us through. There is nothing that will go on in Nigeria without an electoral system that is credible and understandable and I believe that God is ready to deal with Nigeria in terms of elections. “Therefore, the person who is in charge of election should allow the people to say their mind and Nigeria could be saved.”

Alhaji Balarabe Musa
Second Republic Governor of old Kaduna State and Chairman of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Alhaji Balarabe Musa, lamented the enormous resources that are not properly channeled. Said he: “If we take into account the resources that have been available to this country and the achievements, you will agree with me that we have not achieved anything. What we have done is to take one step forward and five steps backwards.”

Alhaji Usman Adamu Song
Former National Chairman of Alliance for Democracy (AD) and Current Deputy National Chairman of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Alhaji Usman Adamu Song, is worried that Nigeria is miles away from popular democracy. “We have not arrived because a lot of things are not there and they don’t seem to be there. We are not yet a democratic country; but civilians are ruling us. Democracy is about the rule of law and there is absence of it in Nigeria. The chief culprit of the lack of the rule of law is the president.”
Forty-six years after independent, Song still questions the rationale for describing Nigeria as an Independent state. “Are we independent when we are hungry and have nothing to eat? When unemployment is staring everybody in the face? Are we independent when we depend on outside countries to feed us?”

Rev Joseph Hayap, CAN scribe
The cleric says it is unfortunate that forty-six years after independent “we are still crawling; we are still babies. The simple truth is that we have actually refused to grow. We want to continue to crawl and look like children.
“So, 46 years, there is nothing really good to write home about. And there is nothing to be proud of. But we still thank God, we are alive.”

Justice Mustapha Akanbi
The immediate past chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Justice Mustapha Akanbi reminisced that the founding fathers Nigeria at independent 46 years ago had hoped for a great country, regretting however, that war and civil strife had stalled its pace of development.
By way of advice, the jurist urged Nigerian leaders to stop unnecessary bickering, as many African nations and Nigerians in the Diaspora expect have great expectations of the country.
“We have gone through civil war and all sorts of crises, religious and political. We have gone through a lot of difficulties. God loves Nigeria. He has been able to keep us together as one nation. But we still have to work hard to ensure that Nigeria is a united, indivisible entity. The rancour is escalating. We should avoid it to ensure posterity. Nigeria is the hope of black nation. When we had independent we dreamt of a great nation. A nation that would be a haven of black race and be a good example to other African nations. Let us make Nigeria better than we found it. Many African nations and Nigerians in the Diaspora expect better thing from us. Our leaders should come together and avoid unnecessary bickering. We expect high standard from the leaders. Democracy is better than any autocratic government. Given the time, we shall come out a more democratic state.’’

Wole Olanipekun, former NBA president
However, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) said that the democracy is only bringing hardship to Nigerians.
He said the only way democracy would be meaningful to Nigerians is when a better government succeeds the incumbent government in May 2007.
“I do not subscribe to this democracy. Nigerians should not expect any wonder again from this government. They should expect a better government that would succeed this one in May 2007. That is the government that would bring better leadership. This government has added more to the sufferings of Nigeria. We should pray for a better government that would usher in a new democratic dispensation. This democracy means nothing to people. It is only bringing hardship.’’

Rt Rev. Emmanuel Egbunu
The Anglican Bishop of Lokoja Diocese, Rt Rev. Emmanuel Egbunu gave a pass mark for the country.
Said he: “I believe Nigeria has fared well in its 46 years of independence. We need to thank God for taking us thus far, for us to have overcome a civil war and so many civil stifles that posed serious threat to the stability and oneness of Nigeria, I think we need to thank God because not many nations survived theirs. However, at 46, we should be talking of being an adult, but we have failed in many ways. For example, our educational system is a failure, it is collapsing and government needs to do something about it: Let all the state governments return schools to the original owners- the missions.”

Chief Mike Oghiadomhe
Deputy Governor of Edo State, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe held that democracy has recorded a milestone with a lot of reforms culminating in improved infrastructure and economy with Nigerians now having the opportunity to talk freely to their leaders.
“We are out of the problems of communication. We are out of the problem of scarcity of fuel. Democracy has improved our international image,” Chief Oghiadomhe told Sunday Sun in an exclusive interview in Benin.

Prof Akinwumi Ishola, dramatist and scholar
“All along we have been unable to have sustainable development because we have been able to build human qualities. Qualities that make a man, like integrity, transparency, honest and accountability.
“You don’t get all these from the moon, you learn them from the parents as you grow up through medium like folktales, moonlight stories and all that. All these remain in the mind after you have must have acquired them. These qualities make a man and eventually lead to sustainable development. But we have failed to do that and therefore our inability to sustain development.”

Chief Mbazulike Amechi
In Anambra State, a cross section of the citizens lauded the nation at the anniversary but decried the level of insecurity, unemployment and brazen looting of public treasury by public office holders.
According to one of the few living founding fathers and nationalists, Chief Mbazuluike Amechi, the 46 years of Nigeria’s Independence has been very eventful, though the hopes and aspirations of the nationalists have not been fully realized.
He blamed most of the problems on the military, which he said hijacked power from the nationalist after six years and disorganized the polity, and held power for 38 years, stressing that the early strides made would had been more elaborate had the military not disturbed the orderly progress of the country.
“In totality, it has not been a full success, neither has it been a total failure. But first of all, I will say that the patriotism in government terribly deteriorated with military incursion into governance. The military introduced minor stealing, from stealing to pilfering, from pilfering to massive stealing, from massive stealing to looting and it is painful that the politicians who took over form the military after 38 years really has not much lesson to learn in patriotism and service…”

Prof Pita Ejiofor
Also speaking, former Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka, Prof. Pita Ejiofor said that some degree of progress had been made in the last 46 years, adding however that these achievements fall short of the expectations of Nigerians, and the world.
“Economically, I wouldn’t say that we have seen additional roads and bridges, but we have also lost quite a lot of things. For example, at Independence, we had the railways, now we don’t have a single railway system functioning except in few places. I don’t think any train has come to Enugu for many years.
“So we lost out in terms of rail transportation, on the road network, the road network has not balanced; the number of cars we have, and we have problems of lack of maintenance of the roads.
“The economically too, we have a very serious problem of unemployment we have made progress, we have so many universities, at Independence, we had only on university in Nigeria, that was University of Ibadan and then just at that point of Independence, the University of Nigeria was established at Nsukka. So, you can say that at Independence we had only two, but now we have about 25 Federal Universities, and almost every states in Nigeria has a University, in addition to the private ones.
“We also have problem of security. We have deteriorated security wise. At Independence, night life was booming in every part of the country. Nowadays, security situation has deteriorated in such a way that by eight, or nine O’clock, the roads are deserted.”

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