IN line with traditional calendaring, Nigeria celebrated her 63rd independence anniversary on October 1, 2023, amidst hunger, anger, economic frustrations, and huge disillusionment of a greater majority of the citizens, many of whom have been pushed into the multidimensionally poor basket by the economic hardship precipitated by the inevitable recent removal of fuel subsidy and devaluation of the naira.
THE angst Nigerians are going through has further elicited distrust between them and the political class, who are often seen as privileged beneficiaries of the goods and commonwealths of the nation. Such suspicions have been sustained by the evident luxurious lifestyles of the rich, and the parlous prevalence of endemic poverty of the poor.
THE Hope of a better Nigeria, choreographed by successive Nigeria leaders, has not translated to a systematic development of the nation, and improved better life for the teaming populace, thereby creating a wide gulf between government and the governed.
HOWEVER, notwithstanding the many woes of civil war, ethnic strives, religious intolerance, low life expectancy, insecurity, economic instability, endemic vicious corruption, poor health care services, combustive educational system, dilapidated infrastructures, etc., which have reduced Nigeria independence to a misnomer, and tend to strangulate the country and the people over the years, the Tinubu Administration is trying to rekindle hope with the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda and mantra, even as the citizens desire that it would not be another fluke.
JUST like others, The Hope notes the fact Nigeria has had uninterrupted democracy in the last 23 years, since the commencement of the Fourth Republic, unlike some other African countries. However, we also observe that Nigeria has done very badly, as there are still a lot of things to be done, when juxtaposed with the success stories of other nations like China and Cyprus that attained independence almost the same period as Nigeria.
BOTH China and Cyprus have since moved from the categorization of developing nations, given their advancement in all facets of human life. China , for instance, has become a super power and global player in the financial industry, agricultural sector, medicine, automobile industry, science, and technology, as well as industrial development.
NIGERIA is still haunted by the myth of Malaysia coming to Nigeria to pick palm seedlings, with which the latter became a leading world producer and exporter of palm-oil, while China is reputed as the most celebrated hybrid super power produces anything imaginable under the sun .
WE are aware of the enormous human and material resources that Nigeria is blessed with, but the country has failed to utilize her God-given potential for creative development and respectable participation in global engagements. Instead, Nigeria continues to depend on expatriates to handle her developmental projects, foreign loans, and international handouts to meet the basic needs of the citizens, when the major source of her earnings, crude oil, remains locked in massive thefts and corruption.
THE reasons for Nigeria’s unimpressive performance include: lack of purposeful leadership, due to the inability of the political system to throw up the best; large-scale corruption; strangulations occasioned by military rules; ethic mistrust; nepotism; poor educational system; and lack of patriotism.
THE HOPE is alarmed and appalled that at a time Nigeria celebrates her 63rd independence anniversary, the citizens would still be hungry and fighting over palliatives, as paradoxical evidence of the realities that used to be witnessed in nations like Kenya and Sudan. Ironically, years back, at independence anniversary, Nigerians were served beverages, and other gifts, as part of the initiatives to elicit patriotism from them.
HOWEVER, today, most Nigerians are no longer patriotic, even as some are frustratingly calling for military takeover. The calamitous turn of events has reduced Nigeria to a failed and dependent nation!
IT is our hope that the Nigeria ruling class would act fast and prevent the country from sliding to avoidable anarchy. Today, Nigeria is more polarized along ethno-religious lines, with all sorts of killings going on across the country. We call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government to expeditiously consolidate its commitment to return the nation to normalcy and bring back the country’s lost glory.
THERE is the urgent need to decisively deal with the issue of endemic corruption in the country. Notwithstanding the ineffective noises made in the past about the fight against corruption, Nigeria still ranks 150th out of 180 countries assessed in 2022 global corruption index released by Transparency International (TI).
THE cancerous activities of corruption in Nigeria is symbolised by the collapse of the many companies that were in place to run the economy.
Eric Teniola, in a publication of January 9, 2018, listed more than 40 companies that were operating in Nigeria as at 1979. Some of them are: Motor MFG, Anambra; Nkalagu Cement, Anambra; Ashaka Cement, Bauchi; New Nigeria Salt Company, Bendel; Delta Steel Company, Bendel; Nigerian Newsprint, Cross-River; Savana Sugar, Gongola; Electricity Meters, Kaduna; Peugeot Automobile, Kaduna; Ajaokuta Steel; Volkswagen, Lagos; National Salt Company, Ogun; Nigeria Transformers, Ogun; Nigeria-Romania Wood Industries, Ondo; Leyland Nigeria Ltd., Oyo; Oshogbo Steel Rolling Mill, Osun.
THE HOPE is of the opinion that another occasion of independence celebration should afford Nigeria and Nigerians the opportunity for sober reflection, and deliberate commitment to, indeed, make Nigeria an independent nation, free from external neoliberal strangulation and internal contradictions. All the same, Happy Independence Anniversary celebration!