By CLIFFORD NDUJIHE
LAGOS—SECOND REPUBLIC Vice- President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Sunday, took a dispassionate look at the state of affairs in Nigeria and returned a grim verdict: “we have not realised our pre-independence dreams and aspirations.”
Urging leaders at all levels to accelerate efforts to check the rot and begin the onerous task of developing the country, he said: “No one present when the Union Jack was lowered in 1960 would be happy with the present level of development in Nigeria.”
The elder statesman spoke with journalists during his 80th birthday reception organised in his honour by his Orumba kinsmen in Ikoyi, Lagos, under the auspices of Orumba Forum.
Asked where and when Nigerians started missing the mark, he said: “I don’t want to apportion blames but no one who saw the Union Jack lowered in Nigeria would be happy about the present state of things”.
Among the British colonies, one of the founding fathers of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said on the eve of independence on September 30, 1960, “expectation was high that Nigeria would be one of the greatest countries in Africa and the world, but the dreams and expectation have not been realised.”
Ekwueme prescribed “determination and commitment to serve” on the part of leaders as a major step to reverse the downward slide in Nigeria’s quest for sustainable development.
The President of the forum, Dr. Raymond Obieri and other members drawn from all works of life showered encomiums on the politician and enjoined those in the corridors of power to emulate his good virtues.
Notable personalities at the event included Prof Laz Ekwueme, Sir John Ezeh, Sir Emma Udoye, Chief Ben Ohakwe, Prof Titus Okeke, Obi Okafor and Dr Emma Nwankwo.
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