Nigeria @ 58: The Milestones

Nigeria at 58 means different things to different people. Some people celebrate the day with lamentations. To them, Nigeria in the last 58 years should have excelled and become an Eldorado of all sorts.

Despite the fact that the country has what it takes to become the shining example worthy of emulation among the countries of the world, this dream has aborted by poor governance occasioned by corruption, ethno-religious crises, nepotism and regionalism.

Our first republic leaders deserve a pat on their back; they achieved a lot in spite of their political and regional differences. Nigerians, during the first republic witnessed the establishment of first generation universities in the three geo-political zones, free education in the Western Region among others.

After the bloody coup that terminated the first republic, the khaki boys were accused of corruption and dictatorship. Although, the second republic took credit for the implementation of basic infrastructural development, it was accused of brazen abuse of power and embezzlement of public funds.

At 58, we are yet to get it right. Our ruling elites, who constitute the stumbling block for the country’s development. In the last two years, they re-introduced the issue of “restructuring”.

While restructuring may temporarily address some perceived challenges in our defective federalism, it may not in the long run, serve as an antidote or solution to the myriad problems facing the country.

The present restructuring formula being campaigned by our politicians will collapse like a pack of cards.

Nigeria needs to go back to drawing board and plan its future development. The country is lacking behind in the social, political and economic facades. With the damning revelation or report of increasing slums, widespread poverty is alarming.

Some countries which attained political independence with Nigeria have accomplished greatness, those countries are now well-developed which is now center hub of Nigeria citizens to travel for tour or looking for greener pasture.

For example, India has become a force to reckon with in technological development. The country recently assisted Nigeria with millions of dollars to boost technology.

Nigeria is blessed with abundant human and natural resources. What the country lacks is good leadership. No wonder, since the demise of first republic leaders who were imbued with great sense of patriotism, the country has never fared well.

Notwithstanding the numerous challenges, 18 years of uninterrupted democracy in the country is cheering news. It is not too late for our political leaders that matters in Nigeria project to re-adjust.

At 58 years of independence, let us change our attitude and mind-set, let us remove the spirit of greed in our heart with self-center, we can work collectively for better Nigeria.


About Nigeria History & The Struggles

Heroes struggles betrayed

Lagos race course was the scene, and it was the afternoon of Nigeria’s great day with thousands awaiting the climax. Princess Alexandra, with Sir James Robertson (the retiring Governor General), must have enjoyed the whole jubilant atmosphere of the occasion.

It was as the representative of Her Majesty the Queen that Princess Alexandra of Kent returned in the evening to hand over Nigeria’s constitution to the Federal Prime Minister, Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.

Next day came the State Opening of Parliament. Dr Azikiwe, President of the Senate and Governor-General Designate addressed the Princess, asking her to open Parliament by reading The Speech from the Throne.

Nigeria as a hub of many ancient kingdoms and empires was invaded by British colonialists who came for their economic expansion. They enslaved our able men, robbed and exploited our resources, leaving our land devastated and making life a vast misery for many Nigerians. Indeed, it was an era of absolute black-age where mirrors were exchanged for futures.

Nigeria now is a cynosure where foreigners enjoy their leisure time. This was an aftermath of severe struggles pioneered by our brave men (nationalists) among who were; Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Chief Anthony Enahoro and most persistently, the mass media and their proprietors.

They fought relentlessly until middle ground was reached between them and the white-masters. It’s an immense disaster that the footprints left on sand by these brave men are swept off, thereby Sabotage by self-interests, instead of symbolizing patriotism and energizing nationalism crusade.

The present unpatriotic leaders have betrayed the struggles of past patriotic ones, down- faced their flags and supplanted them with mischievous customs; the mass media sings lullabies to their potholes, in that way selling the masses’ trusts to enrich their portfolios.

The second section of Nigeria’s tragedy after the massive dark era of slavery and colonialism, could be traced back to the spirit of military mysticism that enveloped some young combatant officers who reversed the democratic march after independence and installed a system of government which awarded us monumental corruption, massive looting among other threats bedeviling our country today.

A very ridiculous record it remains that independence age mates of Nigeria has gone far in securing global reputation. Nigeria shares same freedom year with Cyprus whose independence was on October 16, 1960, but usually celebrates her independence on every October 1.

Other age mates include Malaysia and Singapore. Even so, in North-south divide, global south is composed of developing countries where most African countries are found. The Republic of Ghana shares same boundary with Nigeria in North-south divide, but the stand of Ghana today in term of her economy, security and polity dares Nigeria’s.

In her 61st independence anniversary which was graced by both president and senate president of Nigeria, it clearly showed how far they’ve gone ahead of us. How funny it sounds when Nigeria who was ranked number one as the most poverty afflicted country in the world due to the level of corruption vowed to help Ghana to fight corruption.

Ethnicity, tribalism, religious persecution among the rest has drastically turned Nigeria to a political desert where nobility overshadows democracy, human rights goes astray, drought kills people, darkness outscores electricity and bad road network hugely claims many lives on daily basis. Many of our dear ones as a result of these have fled to lands of promise such as Europe, Australia and North America.

I call on our leaders to let the footprints of the past heroes (nationalists) reflect on our polity, their patriotic spirit to stream in them; to stop diaspora mockery and laughter nurtured by big rounded mouths. I urge our youths to fight for their tomorrow as these are to attain the top crest.

•Mohammed Yakubu,
IBB University, Lapai, Niger State.

Nigeria at 58 a reviewing

Nigeria’s achievements at 58, the most common parameters for measurement could be the state of our governance, economy and major subdivisions of these key parameters.

This discourse will use the political and governance parameters to review our progress so far. On the political and governance front, we have been through two key systems of governance, the elected systems and the impositions by military dictators.

We passed through a brutal civil war to retain our unity and many will see the fact of our being one country after 58 years as an achievement. The jury is out whether, overall, we would have been more prosperous and successful if we had operated with may be, three or four different countries out of the big Nigeria.

Some other countries like India had let their component parts become independent countries after some years of being together. But we are here together and the business of the day is to make the best out of our status as a united country. We are not the largest country in the world in terms of population, land area and diversity.

Our challenge has been the management of our diversity which would have made us a very strong and potent force when all the positive attributes of the different components are welded into the service of the bigger whole. Fifty eight years down the line, those fault lines that appeared shortly before independence have refused to go away; rather they seem to be widening.


These fault lines so far have encouraged a race to the bottom rather than a race to the top, especially after we jettisoned federalism and started paying lip service to it. Based on these fault lines, which more or less benefited the elite and ruling class, groups and individuals who have found themselves on the corridors of power have mismanaged the common patrimony.

The federalism of the First Republic (1960, to 1966) encouraged the spirit of progressive competition. It was a race to the top when the energies of the people were tapped for development within the context of unity in diversity.

This period witnessed developmental strides and growth comparable to what obtained in other countries of the world at our level of development. But we mismanaged the First Republic and the military came in under the pretext of redemption – to fight corruption and unite the country but succeeded in setting us back.

The Second Republic showed that the leaders on mufti learns and forgot nothing. They were democrats who did not believe in democracy. They subverted the will of the people and failed to allow the votes to count.

The arrogance of power manifested in abuse of office, looting of the treasury and practically no idea for the development of the country. And the military struck again under the old pretext of redemption. They elevated abuse of office to new heights, starting from the gross disrespect of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Gen Muhammadu Buhari regime.

The Ibrahim Babangida administration took corruption to new heights and legitimised it; and its greatest achievement became the annulment of the free and fair June 12, 1993, presidential election. The Shonekan Interim National Government was too short and a lame duck to merit a consideration of its contribution to nation-building.

Enter the most brutal dictator of our time, Sani Abacha, who looted the treasury with impunity whilst his killing squad unleashed terror and spilled the blood of the innocent on the land. Abdusalami Abubakar tried to restore some sanity in the land and within a short spell of time, handed over power to civilians and Nigeria started on a new note.

However, the military handed over to another former soldier who promised to take Nigeria to greater heights considering his age and life experience. Obasanjo had been in power before and was jailed by the Abacha regime for opposing his misrule.

But the deliverable of his administration were far less than the big promises which Nigerians had upon his assumption of office. His regime was marred by a split of democracy as he presided over massive electoral heists. President Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration was too short before he died.

He promised a lot of reforms and started the process of reform before his death. Enter the man who had “no shoes” and who promised transformation and reforms. So much goodwill attended his election as the first university graduate leader of our time. Again, Jonathan’s administration fell short of the expectations leading to the man who had ruled before, to make a promise of the change agenda.

President Buhari came on board in 2015 with promises of reforms of his first coming without its gross abuses of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Evidently, the jury is out on his performance. Under his regime, the traditional fault lines are getting wider than ethnic and religious tension is growing with massive insecurity.

In all of these developments, the voice of the people have not been heard, their needs have not been met and mainstreamed into the economic and social system, whilst the key resources have not been tapped as they have been left dormant.

The resources include human, ecological, technological and financial resources. For ecological resources, beyond our oil, we have left other resources. Even the oil, we are simply extracting crude and selling same without refining and extracting other highly valued commodities.

We still import refined petrol. The human resources have not been tapped for development as we have scientists who cannot convert their knowledge into technical resources to solve our existential problems.

Our medical doctors have not been empowered to take good care of our health while wealthy Nigerians traverse other lands in search of care. We still have leaders who steal our money and take it out of the country whilst we look for money for infrastructure and other development needs.

A new paradigm of political leadership is needed. A lot of our leaders did not or do not understand development. Many were rulers and waited to be served instead of serving. For the youths of the country who have more years to spend and who have a greater stake in the country, it is up to them to endeavour to take over leadership, to demand accountability from the present and future leaders.

  • Eze Onyekpere

Nigeria: ‘GAME OF POWER’

The political game tries to create fear and hatred. The motive is to gather enough support to be in power.
It goes against our own very nature,
but due to immaturity and lack of wisdom
masses have been engulfed by such games
leading to the most disgusting atrocities in history.

Our true nature is so different.

Our true nature is one of love and kindness
Our Creator has created us in a way, we experience
peace of mind and true happiness when we are kind and loving
when we are kind and forgiving, when we are magnanimous.

Sadly politicians and some religious scholars alike
play with the sentiments of fear and hatred to gather support
to gain followers. Fears and hatred cannot bring peace of mind
or happiness. Only love and kindness do.

There is certain urgency in today’s world.
We do not want the genocide of Rwanda,
of the Nazis and so many more to be repeated
anywhere in the world.

For that we need a critical number of people
wise and mature enough to counter the cries
of wicked leadership. It is time, high time to ignore
the cries for hatred by any type of leader, be it political,
and be it religious.

Let us nib any cry for hatred in the bud;
if not, it may grow into something big and atrocious
Let us embrace any cry for love and kindness
Our world will change for the better.

Let us not be dragged into polarization!

What really matters is to protect our environment. Tell them to give good education; tell them to care for our disabled fellow humans.
Tell them to control addictive drug sales and use, Allow peace within our community, peace in the world lots and lots of kindness.

Finally, I charge you all; let’s learn from each other’s differences. You are created for me and I for you.

Written by, Goodness…

I was touch by such a poem I had to INSERT it on this research article. The prose are full of meaning’s – hatred everywhere no love, ethno-religious crises, prejudice and regionalism has become order of the day.

Herdsman are ravaging the Christians brother and sister’s at the Northern part of the country, killing the priest and servants of God, right inside Churches. Boko Haram has turned a lot of family into mourners, the journey so far.

Kidnapping becomes another problem, high rate of insecurity in the land, no basic amenities, Power Electricity black out.

Blood share everywhere, the land is crying, looked at what happened in Osun State, the just concluded Governorship Election, when a winner supposed to emerged, automatically the election becomes inconclusive. Using money to buy people conscience here and there. The journey so far.

The bottomline is for us individual as whole to show love among ourselves together with the leader’s. If there is love at heart from the leader’s toward this country, things will change and development take place faster than the way we found ourselves right now.

The present crop of leaders do not care and have no dreams for Nigeria’s development beyond their entitlement to remain in the corridors of power. May God continue to bless Nigeria.

Please, Nigerian’s vote with INK not with BLOOD.

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