By HENRY UMORU
ABUJA — THE Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday examined the 53 years of Nigeria’s independence and came up with a verdict that Nigeria as a nation was a crumbling edifice, with massive corruption and characterised by bad leadership.
According to the group, the present federal structure was no longer achieving its set goals, adding, “We demand a re-ordering of the inchoate federal structure with a view to allowing the states and the other federating units more access to resources to attend to the numerous responsibilities placed on them.
In his 53rd Independence speech yesterday, Baraje, the former National Secretary and later acting National Chairman of the ruling PDP which brought in President Goodluck Jonathan, however called for the establishment of state police which according to him would serve as an antidote to the worsening security problems, “which the present inept and highly politicised Nigerian Police had been unable to deal with.”
Also in the family of the Baraje-led new PDP are former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; governors Sule Lamido of Jigawa; Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara; Aliyu Babangida of Niger; Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto State; Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers; Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano; and Murtala Nyako of Adamawa.
The group also said that if Nigeria must get the economy to be in the right perspective and address the nation’s problems, there must be the immediate constitution of a critical management team that will comprise people who are apolitical, eminent technocrats and knowledgeable Nigerians that will take over the management of the economy against the backdrop of what it termed, the woeful failure of the economic management team of the Jonathan government. It added that there should be similar team to arrest the infrastructural decay that was threatening the nation’s infrastructural base at the moment.
Abubakar Baraje’s text read in full, “As I salute my fellow country men and women on this special, epochal and historical event of the 53rd anniversary of our independence and knowing that many of our leaders may prefer to say otherwise but let me state categorically without equivocation that I am very sad that it is a pity that 53 years after independence, Nigeria is still a crumbling edifice, wrecked to the seams by corruption, bad leadership, ethnicism, parochialism, sectarian intolerance and childish political recrimination.
“Nigeria at 53 has turned into a borderless valley of tears where life expectancy hovers between 40 and 43 years. Nigerians are callously extorted through various government agencies like the PHCN which today excels in generating darkness and subjecting Nigerians to the highest ever tariff regime. The Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, set up as a well-meaning agency to tame the rising cases of road accidents has become a tool for mindless extortion through the issuing and re-issuing of vehicle number plates and drivers’ licenses at very exorbitant prices. The petroleum sector has become an illicit cash cow for the people in government, their friends and relatives who exploit the hapless citizens through sundry means and cleansing the treasury via a phantom fuel subsidy scheme that targets the friends and fronts of the members of the government for enrichment.
At 53, Nigeria has failed its citizens
“What could best demonstrate the wanton brigandage going on in Nigeria than the fact that the government, which set up the SURE-P programme with the huge N32 increment in each litre of fuel Nigerians purchase, has recorded no known achievement with the huge accruals from the increment? Today, SURE-P has sacked the 110,000 youths it placed on N10, 000 monthly allowances on the excuse that there is no money to pay them. We ask, where is the government keeping the huge amount it realizes from the inhuman increment in the price of petrol, kerosene and diesel?
“At 53 years of independence, our educational sector has completely crumbled and our universities have been shut for close to three months simply because a government that celebrates free loading of the nation’s resources cannot meet the agreement it signed with university teachers four years ago. Our secondary and primary school sectors are jerking at the most inefficient level; neglected, abandoned and dejected and all have contributed to make Nigerian certificates almost worthless.
“The health sector is in a pitiable state as our hospitals cannot handle simple malaria cases. Nigerians now troop to India and the Far East Asian countries to treat common ailments and nothing is being done to arrest this sad situation.
“Nigerians want out of Nigeria in millions: embassies of even our poor neighbours have been besieged by anxious Nigerians, ready to do anything to get out of a country our economic managers humour as growing at astronomical levels.
“The infrastructure sector is in its worst state as Nigerian infrastructural base has crumbled. Roads are decrepit. The economy has screeched to a halt in the face of unrestrained purloining, coupled with an officially-backed oil theft that targets the members of the government, its cronies and hirelings for enrichment. The management of the Nigerian economy is, at best, haphazard as the cooking and circulation of flattering and fatuous economic reports that curiously suggest growth in the obvious degenerating reality Nigerians are facing.