By Dayo Benson, Political Editor
At 49, Nigeria as a nation remains a bundle of contradictions. As Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, once described it, the nation is a contradiction because what some people want negates what other people want and the result is what nobody wants. Almost half a century after independence, the countryâ€™s political development may reflect a narrow vision ofÂ a few ruling elite, certainly it is far from the lofty dreams of Nigeriaâ€™s founding fathers.Â In the same vein, it is at variance with what the majority want. Herein lies the negation.
Perhaps, the golden era inÂ Nigeriaâ€™s chequered political history isÂ the FirstÂ Republics.Â At thatÂ period, politics was all about service and commitment to national development. The quality of politicians then also defined the character and essence of the game. If politics is about developing the country and catering for the peopleâ€™s welfare, the best of these were witnessed at that time. Founding fathers such as Sir Ahmadu Bello, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo transformed their respective areas namely Northern, Eastern and Western Regions.
This feat was somewhat replicated in the second republic under the leadership of Alhaji Shehu Shagari what would have been a Third Republic was truncated by the military. The last 10 years which is the post-military era that ushered in the Fourth Republic has been far from being glorious politically.
Of the last one decade, if the first four years witnessed a semblance of leadership direction, same cannot be said of the last six years, especially the past two years. It is a sad irony that at 49, the nation is still grappling with the question of leadership.
It is also disturbing that about five decades after the attainment of nationhood, the country still findsÂ it difficult to conduct a free and fair election.
At 49, the indices of development is almost nil. Speaking at a forum recently, Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC,Â Justice Emmanuel Ayoola (rtd) put it succinctly when he decried the failed dream of the nation.
According to the retired Supreme Court Justice,â€œthe dream of Nigeria we have today is the dream we had 50 years ago,â€ sad.