By Adekola Afolabi,
& Ayodele Popoola
Nigeria’s lopsided configuration has greatly incapacitated her from achieving the dreams and aspirations of her founding fathers to become the pride of the black race and particularly, the giant of Africa.
Stakeholders who spoke with The Hope in separate interviews on the occasion of Nigeria’s 63rd independence anniversary noted that unless the present configuration is tinkered with, greatness will continue to elude the country.
They said if the founding fathers were to look back and assess what they fought for, they will not be happy.
Those who shared their thoughts with our correspondents are: Afenifere chieftain, Bashorun Sehinde Arogbofa, Senator, Boluwaji Kunlere and National Public Relations Officer of Afenifere, Jare Ajayi.
Senator Kunlere formerly representing Ondo South Senatorial District, said the country is on threshold, adding that the way the country is being run in the past is a great departure from the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers.
“For me, my assessment is that of mixed feelings. Mixed feelings in that, yes, we are in a country of our own, with our own authorities to govern ourselves, and no longer owing allegiance to the King or Queen of England. Our cases no longer going to the Judicial Committee of Privy Council, we no longer rule ourselves with ordinary Order-in-Council, we have more states, universities, facilities, and we are governing ourselves. So, we have every course to celebrate.
“But on the other hand, the question will be whether at 63 Nigeria is winning for the citizens? My answer is no. This is because where we are now is a great departure from the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers of the country.
“We are more disunited even as we speak, along ethnic, religious tribal, political and business interests. The level of hatred and bitterness in the country can better be imagined. And that could be dangerous to the present and upcoming generations, who are in doubt whether they can still have a country they can call their own.
“So, the way forward is to reconfigure the country,and for all concerned, even from the family level, to local, state, national, subnational levels to put Nigeria first in terms of our unity, love for fellow human beings. If we love our neighbours as ourselves, we will not see the children of our fellow neighbours going astray without checking. But today, they can even use them for rituals, or as thugs, slaves and assassins to be empowered to maim, kill or injure opponents.
“We have to address all these. The way people can no longer go about their normal businesses from which they earn their livelihood, calls for urgent attention. Non-state actors in this country now-kidnappers, Boko Haram, bandits, ISWAP and all manner of names as we have them, are almost overwhelming the security forces. We have to address it.
Bashorun Arogbofa said since independence, Nigeria has been taking two steps forward and three steps backwards which he said has affected every sphere of life in the country.
Citing the effect of insecurity on farmers and food production in the country, he said it appears the last administration looked the other way and that degenerated the land to experience famine.
Arogbofa said, President Bola Tinubu has called his political ideology , Hope Renewed, meaning that all has not been well and that the hope of Nigeria needed to be renewed for a better country.
National Public Relations Officer of Afenifere, Jare Ajayi opined that the country is far from the mission and aspirations of her founding fathers
He, however, expressed optimism that President Bola Tinubu being an Afenifere to the core will do the needful to put Nigeria where it belong as a 63-year- old nation.
“I believe if those who have gone, the founding fathers of Nigeria, most especially those who fought for the country’s independence have the opportunity to see what is happening in Nigeria today, what Nigeria has become 63 years after independence, they will not be happy.
“Even, those of us that were very young then, when we were called upon every October 1st to celebrate independence, we did not imagine that decades down the line, Nigeria will still be where it is now, we are certainly not comfortable with its present state.
‘We are confident that the government is aware and committed but anything that is enduring is not something we can rush into. There are some things we have to put in place first before we now talk about how to restructure the country. I believe at the appropriate time, machinery will be put in place to get it done.
In the word of an elder stateman, Chief Korede Duyile, he said Nigeria is just counting number of years without commensurate achievement.
Each of the previous leaders have tried their best in their own way but it has not stop the nation’s problem, unless Nigeria is truly reconfigured or restructured not much can be expected. I can’t imagine that the country is still struggling to get it right even at 63.
The new president is an individual who can do the best, but once the foundation is wrong, I’m afraid if one individual can make a meaningful differences.
The president was part of the people clamoring for restructuring for a long time, I believe he knows what to do, if we give him time, we are in Nigeria with many tribes and interest to find a way out it now.