Congratulationss to all Nigerians on the occasion of our 61st anniversary of independence. Despite all of our challenges, we still struggle to stay together as a nation.
For me, staying together can be an achievement after more than six decades of turmoil. Shortly after independence in 1960, Nigeria experienced about five years of relative peace under the administration of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, before the political crisis in the western region escalated into the first coup of the 15th. January 1966.
The consequences of this poorly executed coup are still with us until today. The middle-ranking officers, led by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, claimed to have overthrown the Balewa government mainly because of corruption. These and other reasons advanced for the coup, such as nepotism, profits, etc. have worsened and continue to tarnish our political system.
Although Nigeria is much more developed, richer, economically, stronger and much more sophisticated compared to 1960, we are not there yet. Our global position is however greater, as we are recognized as a regional leader in sub-Saharan Africa due to our growing economic strength and political influence in Africa. Our economy is the second strongest on the continent, despite declining oil revenues and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite palpable pessimism, internal divisions and deep-rooted governance crises, Nigeria would have done much better with the enormous resources at our disposal if our leaders had achieved the same results as some of our peers like Singapore, India, etc. Malaysia, South Africa, China, Brazil and others who have moved from underdeveloped countries to newly industrialized nations.
We were on par with these nations in the 1960s in virtually every index of development, until the early 1970s when decadence set in and our nation began to gradually recede into the abyss. The nation literally fell into a ditch after the Second Republic and we are not out of it yet. To underline the great misfortune that hit Nigeria after the First Republic, our story is no longer about development, infrastructure, agricultural production of local crops for export and consumption, and education, etc.
Today our national discourse revolves around terrorism, street crime, theft, banditry, cybercrime, drugs, Fulani shepherds, fraud, endemic and institutionalized corruption and general incompetence. of our leaders. These rulers used ethnicity, religion, federal character, nepotism, wickedness, hatred, discrimination and other evils to divide the country, so much so that it became fashionable for several groups. aggrieved to adhere to secessionist agitations to let off steam as a protest against a badly managed federation.
Nigeria must measure its progress since 1960 with its technological advancement, the development of social infrastructure, agriculture, security, education, health and the general development of its economy; but this is not the case. Despite its efforts to address these issues, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is struggling to maintain a deeply divided nation. He had to divert meager oil revenues to tackle insecurity, high debt servicing costs, local debt payments and the rising cost of governance.
Buhari came to power fully determined to change the game and put Nigeria back on the path to development, but, six years in power, he still struggles with insurgency, kidnappings for ransom, banditry and other crimes. apart from strikes and serious economic problems. crises, in a context of declining income.
The president has managed to achieve good results in the development of road, rail and educational infrastructure, but he has not been able to stop the advance of Boko Haram and is currently facing the bandits with a new military attack against these criminals. The kidnappings on the highways have been considerably put down, and it is obvious that even the terrorists of Boko Haram, no longer roam free as before, having suffered the incessant shelling of the Nigerian armed forces.
If all his efforts are commendable, the President should seize the occasion of this anniversary to reorganize the structure of his government. He needs national cohesion to fight the violent shepherds if he is to unite and stabilize our nation.
If all Buhari can leave is a legacy of peace, he would be applauded by posterity. Without peace and national security, no progress could take place in the country. Any progress he makes now will only be appreciated if he is able to reunite the nation and effectively demote Boko Haram, end the criminality of the Fulani herders and defeat the bandits.
The President must urgently engage all stakeholders across the political spectrum to seek ways to resolve contentious issues related to restructuring, secessionist unrest and other governance issues in order to engender peace and stability. national. He has only one year to do so because by 2022 the next general election would start to generate their own heat and create serious distractions. Therefore, the time for the president to act is now.
Weekend spice: Waste is wealth in disguise, if you know how to use it.
Alright, folks, thanks for reading. COVID-19 is still here. Be careful. Stay motivated!
• Ayodeji, author, pastor and life coach, can be reached on 09059243004 (SMS, WhatsApp and email only)