Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Celebrating Nigeria's independence day

The celebrations are muted because there's so much yet to be done for true independence.

What is Nigeria celebrating at 53?
On October 1, 1960, the future of Nigeria was bright. But, 53 years after, there is gap between expectation and reality… despite its rich human capital and abundant natural resources.

Many Nigerians living in the towns and cities may not have the opportunity to listen to President Goodluck Jonathan’s live independence broadcast today… As usual, electricity is beyond their reach due to power failure… From this week, many people will transfer their ailing relations from the public hospitals to private clinics in sorrow because another strike is imminent in the health sector.

Already, confused and restless university students are at home, owing to the prolonged lecturers’ strike. There is no end in sight yet…

Across the six geo-political zone, there no peace. In the North, the Boko Haram sect is on the prowl… In the Middlebelt, the Ombatse Group has intensified killings. The brands of terrorism in the South are armed robbery and commercial kidnapping. Corruption, according to Transparency International, has not abated among public office holders. Rather than making the transformation agenda to work, the preoccupation of those in power is the 2015 election. This is the story of Nigeria at 53…

At independence, Nigeria emerged as a country of many nations struggling for relevance. The sustaining power was the subscription to federalism by the leaders who built on the foundation laid by the colonial masters…

Fifty three years after flag independence, the rich country is in pains. Its oil is both a blessing and curse…. A majority of its citizens wallow in poverty. Life expectancy has dropped abysmally in Nigeria. Basic amenities, including portable water, electricity, medical facilities, and roads, are in pitiable state of disrepair. The only prosperous people are those in government…

Government has become the greatest corrupter of society. “There is a disconnect between the government and the people”, observed Ayo Opadokun, the Secretary of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), who blamed the leadership for lack of vision.

‘Our clean cities have become slums. Infrastructure has collapsed, roads are now death traps, killing more people annually than the dreadful diseases like AIDS and malaria. Corruption is on the increase daily. More than 60 percent of our people have no access to pipe borne water and medical facilities. Our country is a country of imports and moral values have collapsed, making us the object of scorn and derision in civilized circles’, former university don and politician Dr. Femi Okunrounmu added…

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