NIGERIA AT 61: CELEBRATION OR SOBER REFLECTION?

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BY Asiwaju Adedamola Adeshina

When Nigeria got independent in 1960, hope,determination and readyness to build a formidable nation was high. Today, the story has changed.

It’s great that we are together after all the challenges and the turbulence we had gone through, perhaps we need to celebrate.

Looking back with what we have as a nation and today’s Nigeria,I believe we need to have a sober reflection.

In 1960, Nigeria’s population was about 35 million.Prosperity made Nigerians more fertile,dignified, productive and a promising nation that many countries look up to.

Our economy was buoyant, we had the best educational system, medical facilities, Public infrastructures and many more, with revenue from Agriculture. No oil, no free money from the center, our parliamentary system of government was working. It wasn’t that we didn’t have harmed robbers, but we had security that we trusted

However,the situation has changed. Our security has gone from bad to worst.Our hospitals are in a mess.Educational sector have been destroyed.A nation that once lived as one have been divided on ethnic, religion,and cultural ground, we don’t speak as one again.

We need to have a sober reflection as a nation. We need to retraced our steps and see where we got it wrong.

Our individual perception about this country need to change for us to move forward. We need to see that this country can be great again by our collective responsibilities.

It is important that we have a constitutional review, to examine the request and agitation of the minority groups in our society. The lacuna in our constitution, expecially in resource allocation and sharing formula have made many groups to be backward, lazy, unproductive and had been our source of various crisis, from Farmers herdsmen crisis to kidnapping,to Boko Haram.
Constitutional review will address so many of the problem and put many things in their rightful place.

Political leaders should stop giving us excuses of why things are not working,but put things in place to make the nation work again. We need to reflect on how the likes of Chief Obafemi Awolowo,Nnamdi Azikiwe,Ahmadu Bello did it that we had a dignified Nigeria that our fathers were proud of.

The anti open-grazing bill signed into law by Ogun state governor,Prince Dapo Abiodun and some other South West governor is a welcome development,but need to provide alternatives for the herdsmen on how to make a living so that they will not take up arms and become a security treat to us in either Boko Haram or kidnapping.

The local government autonomy should be given to make the dividend of democracy visible to the grassroots people. Local government is the closest to the people and the only way it can function well is to have that financial autonomy as described by the constitution.

Nigeria as a nation needs to think out of the box. We need to develop our agricultural and manufacturing sector, and take our mind off the crude oil. We need alternative to crude oil,so that our fortune as a nation will not be dertermined by the price of oil in the oil market.

If we reflect on all the above,I believe we will have a better reason to celebrate Nigeria independent at 62.

Asiwaju Adedamola Adeshina is the Chairman, Ogun State Inter-Party Advisory Council. (IPAC)

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