By Aare Afe Babalola, OFR, CON, SAN
The old adage is that “nothing is small or big otherwise by comparison.”
Indeed, time it was when: .Our Naira was stronger than the Dollar. At some point in the past it was 95k (less than N1) to $1, but now it is N365 to $1.
.Begging was an abomination, but now it is the order of the day. Go to any ceremony whether in the church, the mosque or any social gathering, they are there in quantum plying their trade.
.Life was safe on the road, in the house and on the farm but now, insecurity is a recurring decimal in the country.
.Farming was then the mainstay of the economy, but now it has been abandoned.
.Unemployment was unknown, but now most of the graduates churned out by the country’s tertiary institutions are largely unemployed as a result of which many of them have become Okada Riders.
.Food was in abundance, but now importation of food has taken over.
.Kidnapping and Armed robbery only existed in the dictionary, but now they have become stark and worrisome realities.
.Cattle rearers were very friendly, only using sticks to control their animals, but now they are armed with sophisticated weapons like AK 47.
.Political office holders at all levels earned only sitting allowances, but now, politics has become the only lucrative business in town.
.Our university degrees were respected all over the world, now they are derided and despised by many of the blue chip companies which prefer employing overseas-trained graduates.
.Local Government Councils were effective as they had enough funds to run their affairs, now the funds that trickle from the Governors can barely pay salaries of Local Government workers.
The First Republic was the golden era characterized by prosperity. That was when late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a transformational leader was the Premier of Western Region and led the way with the transformational agenda while other Regions followed suit. Nigeria therefore grew in leaps and bounds.
But for the coup of January 15, 1966, Western Region and indeed the whole country would have caught up with England and other countries in Europe. It was the constitution foisted on us by the Military that derailed the development and became the harbinger of all the ills listed above.
My message to Nigerians and particularly to the new President Buhari-led Administration on this solemn occasion of the anniversary of our Democracy Day is to adopt the biblical injunction to “first seek the Kingdom of God and its righteousness and all other things will follow”.
Therefore the President Buhari-led Administration should first seek the restructuring of the constitution and revert to true federalism and all the aforementioned problems will evaporate.
Aare Afe Babalola is the Founder & Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria.