September 30, 2020

CSOs assess, score Nigeria @60

Gov'ship polls

Say more needs to be done to salvage situation

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

The Convener, Coalition In Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, CDNDC, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, said, “October 1, 2020 is worth celebrating only to the extent that in all things, we must give thanks and all glory to the Almighty God, who has kept us and preserved us to have the hope of salvaging Nigeria from hopelessness, poverty, failed leadership and ethno-religious manipulations.

“60 years after, we are not yet Independent In independence, simply because Nigeria is the single largest most dependent nation on imports and almost everything from outside, we are nonstarter in global competition with other nations that were at par with us in the early 1960s.

“It is unthinkable that after six solid decades starting from 1960, Nigeria will be struggling internally to free itself from sectional manipulations, tribal-capture and ethno-religious supremacy which some dissidents from a tribe led by Gen. Buhari are trying to foist on the rest of the country, and is gradually tearing the country apart.

READ ALSO: Nigeria @60: Prayers can’t heal Nigeria’s sickness ― Anglican Cleric

“Nigeria’s situation can be described as a wasted six decades in terms of global competition for trade, self-sufficiency, manufacturing, innovations, infrastructural development, rule of law, democratic governance and standard of living, in the sense that as our country is now one of the three most terrorised nations of the world, it is the poverty capital of the world and is abysmally low on all indices of human development.

“However, the looters of our commonwealth have every reason to merry at this darkest hour, when the common people are no longer common, but a depressed people wallowing in hopelessness, and these thieving ruling elites have helped themselves with our collective patrimony, cornering our resources for private use, while, sadly, we have been unable to hold them to account for their evil deeds and this unconscionable pillaging of our resources.

“We must however not give up as people and neither should we concede to their evil schemes, because all they want to see is a people thoroughly oppressed and subjugated, but we will rise up one day to fight for our survival and defend our future including today.”

The Founder and President, One Love Foundation, OLF, Chief Patrick Eholor, said, “I have often said before that unfortunately Nigeria has entered the Guinness book of record as a country that celebrates failure at 60, looking at countries like South Korea, Malaysia and even few African countries like Rwanda looking at their development strives their respect for human rights, respect for rule of law and respect for electorates as regards elections in those countries.

“Recently election in Edo State,31000 police were deployed both men and women who are supposed to protect lives and properties that is enshrined in our constitution and it’s no longer a surprise that our money is turning into Zimbabwe dollars and recently after spending about N7.8trillion during the era of Olusegun Obasanjo,Umaru Musa Yaradua,Goodluck Jonathan including this present administration of president Buhari combined, other countries are giving palliative measures to their citizens Nigeria is pushing more poverty to its citizens.

“They are raising the electricity tariffs to punish Nigerians they are raising the fuel pump to punish Nigerians, they are raising the law breakers salaries and adding more incentives and vehicles to their inefficiency and worse of it all we have the so called NLC and TUC whose leadership has failed in all ramifications.

“We have generals that have become billionaires at the detriment of its citizens who has been fighting boko haram over a decade unsuccessfully, we have our gallant military men who have been buried in mass graves without adequate compensation to their families.

“We have our combat police officers without roofs over their head without barracks without police vehicles or police equipment in the 21st century,we have a president who lied to his citizens that his going to publish the names of the looters.

“We have judges who are selling verdicts based on highest bidder, we have customs who are taking Nigeria revenue into their pockets, we have immigration officers who are issuing clearance and passports to non citizens and yet President Muhammadu Buhari said if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us and I think he was right, we have the extrajudicial killings by the police that is yet to be addressed. The COVID 19 has exposed our health system and health sectors, we are still a country of blindness at 60 no electricity, no pipe borne water to drink.

“We are living on hope as a country other country suffers natural disasters unfortunately Nigeria suffer leadership disasters. until we become a country of law and order and extend our prison walls and let the guilty pay for their crimes and let the wealthy genuinely or ill gotten pay their taxes, reduce our churches and mosques, men build bridges not God and let the genuine pastors start paying taxes and put the fraudulent miracle pastors behind bar who are giving false prophecies be prosecuted crime is crime.

“The solution; let us improve more in our infrastructures, let us take the institutions from men because individuals are institutions in Nigeria, let us re-train our police give them a better accommodation, a better salary. Let us encourage the men and women in the military with a better pay, let us re-train our teachers, let us recognize our doctors and nurses because they prove their worth in this COVID 19 and let’s reduce the salaries of the law breakers and let’s stop the fraudulent security votes for the governors. Let us have a referendum so the ordinary Nigerians will have a democracy.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria At 60: Oborevwori tasks Nigerians on peace, unity 

The National Coordinator, Grassroots Empowerment and Justice, GEJ, Initiative, Ebriku John Friday, said, “Nigeria at 60 is a cheery news ordinarily at least for the fact that the nation is still together despite the ups and downs.

“But we should be ashamed of a nation at 60 that is still struggling with the unity of her people. We are more divided today than 60 years ago because we are simply progressing in error.

“From an independent government to military junta to today’s democratic experiment, the burning issues all seems to remain the same, lacking in basic indices of progression, politically, economically, socially, infrastructural and otherwise. Aside from privileged individuals who are amassing wealth, the teeming population still wallows in abject poverty.

“All we see is a kind of merry go round situation, where successive elected leaders go into office and leave hundred times better through embezzlement as corruption seems to be order of the day.

“Nothing exciting has changed about the much talked about fight against corruption which has become a common phenomenon in every sector of the economy. Monies for development projects are being diverted and the culprit go scot-free.

“Security is at its lowest ebb even with the billions being spent on equipment and personnel, it has degenerate to broad day kidnappings, daily news of gruesome killings, armed robbery, terrorism, where communities are sacked and the government is lost as to what to do. It is an ugly situation.

“The calls for political reform since the return to democracy in 1999 has not changed, our elections are still marred with ballot box snatching, writing of results and other forms of rigging etc.

“A serious nation at 60 should not be grappling with stable power supply, refining of crude amongst other infrastructures but up till this day these are issues still bugging our nations.

“It is high time our leaders and the government of the day do a proper retrospect, retrace our steps with the aim of doing the needful, leading with vision, fight corruption by blocking leakages, purging the civil service, as well as changing the security architecture and lead with sincerity and the fear of God.

“There should be a reorientation of the citizenry, by making them partners in the governance of the nation and awaken their patriotic spirit. If leaders are patriotic, citizens will follow suit.

“Tribalism, sectionalism, and all forms of bigotry should be discarded for an egalitarian society where love for nation and respect for the Constitution is upheld by so doing we would be putting the nation on a sound footing for the next 60 years anniversary.”

The Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, said, “After 60 years, we have a political system that keeps failing its people. As we celebrate 60 years of being together, we should ask ourselves whether we are really together. This country is working for a few and not all of us.

“Looking at the pre-election violence ahead of #OndoDecides2020 you can’t help but wonder why after 60 years? Violence still reigns supreme during elections.”

The President and Founder Peoples Movement for a New Nigeria, PMNN, Yahaya Ndu, said, “Yes, our country Nigeria is set to commemorate 60 years of political Independence for all it is worth..

“But are we Independent in anyway? That’s a question we must answer. To start with the name we are addressed as Nigeria was a name given to us by the British. Many nations in Africa and around the world that were named by colonialists had since changed their names to names of their choice, which is why Gold coast is now known as Ghana but we continue to call ourselves Nigeria.

“The governance system we run which we call democracy is at best an electocracy/ civilian dictatorship. We refuse to learn. We refuse to grow. We continue to disgrace ourselves and the black race in every way conceived able. We say we are running a democracy and democracy is described as a government of the people by the people and for the people but the reality in our country is different.

“Gubernatorial elections just held in Edo state. The winner of the election ran under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP after governing the state for four years under the platform of the All Progressive Congress APC.

“Our political parties have no ideological colorations. Our politicians have no morals and no principles. We spend billions conducting elections to elect a few individuals who begin to dictate to millions of others and we call it a democracy.

“We forget that democracy as the world knows it was originally invented in Nigeria. We elect people who claim to be servants of the people while in truth they run themselves as lords and masters of the people.

“Our economic policies are totally incomprehensible. During COVID we spend more in feeding school pupils than we budget for education as a whole. We prefer to borrow $3 billion from China and mortgage our sovereignty in so doing rather than borrow from the Nigerian Diaspora

“We must realize that no one can fix our country for us and that we must fix Nigeria ourselves.

READ ALSO: Nigeria @60: Time to invest in our youths is now – Atiku

“We have the best brains in this world but we do not care about the ingenuity of our people. Unemployment is at all time high and we are crying that the rate of crime is too much.. Have we forgotten the saying that the devil finds work for idle minds?

“We must see ourselves as one and must make Nigeria work. We have so many retired generals, Inspectors General of police and what have you…why can’t they all come together and brainstorm and come up with solutions to the security challenges of Nigeria?

“Why must insecurity hold our country bondage? If we want to move forward in Nigeria the only option is for us to run a mass participatory governance system in which Nigerians and at home will be equal stakeholders. There is no other way.

National Coordinator, Niger Delta Youth Congress, NDYC, Comrade Israel Uwejeyan, said, “The call by the Federal Government for Creative ideas in Celebration of the Nation’s 60th independence anniversary is a distraction from what is on ground as there’s nothing worth Celebrating order than the continuous suffering of the masses and milking of our common wealth by the so called Elites.

“It is not far-fetched that at no time in our history has our Nation been more divided along ethnic and religious lines than now and the situation keep getting worse on daily.

“It is very unfortunate that despite being blessed as a Nation with enormous human and natural resources, we’ve being going round in circles and retrogressive in our growth.

“Nigeria’s fundamental challenges as a nation since independence are of many folds and the most appalling of them all is leadership.

“Nigeria as a country is sliding backwards politically, economically and otherwise. After sixty years of independence, a combination of anemic growth and a fast-growing population has resulted in shrinking of our economy per capita terms, especially in this present incompetent and clueless administration.

“Corruption has eaten deep into our Nations fabric and it has become obvious to the world that this nation has a corrupt culture. For many years, Nigeria has earned a considerable sum of money from the rock-tar, which has gone down the cesspool created by corruption.

“Worse of it all is that Corruption has penetrated every institution and organizations in the country including the Education and university systems were you see a Professors taking money or sexually assaulting students in exchange for marks thereby drowning can our hope for a better future.

“The lack of consistency in policies and the greed of politicians are amongst the causes of the hemorrhage in our economy. Every administration that comes on board sets up a new policy initiative instead of working on and improving the previous one which Results in wastage and abandoned projects everywhere.

“Consequently, Nigeria has a series of inefficient and poorly executed policies. Most of the problems facing the Nigerian economy reflect the bad quality of the nation’s economic health, human development and also a lack of authentic competition through government giving waivers and even sometimes selling forex at cheaper rate to friends and associates.

“Also, a lack of proper interaction between government and the society is also a major problem facing Nigeria. A government cannot manage its economic, political, and social affairs without fostering interaction between it and the private sector and state civil society.

“Instead of government setting up processes and mechanisms for citizens and groups to articulate their interests, mediate their differences, and work together in development, they resolve to draconian leadership by intimidation and persecution of dissenting voices.

“The security situation in our nation which is tied up to the daily rise in unemployment and poverty is another very worrisome issue. It has become obvious that the careless attitude and lack of sincerity of purpose of our Government is daily creating insecurity monsters that has overwhelmed the government and further causing disunity in our nationhood.

“Daily rise in terrorism activities to banditry, kidnappings, armed robbery, clashes between herdsmen and settled farmers amongst others has made our nation to be one of the most unsafe country on earth to live in. Daily News of deaths of innocent lives from avoidable circumstances has become a norm.

“The health and environmental standards of the country are also in a deplorable condition. In 2015, Amnesty International announced that Nigeria experiences hundreds of oil spills annually in the Niger Delta, mainly because of sabotage and uncaring attitude by oil firms and Government which in turn damage the communities who once depended on farming and fishing for their livelihood.

“Nigerians die daily from common sicknesses as a result of the poor health sector while our elites take pride in medical tourism instead of reforming the health sector.

“Infrastructure may seem like a simplistic point compared to other issues like Boko Haram, but how can a country develop without a dependable power supply? The power department is mismanaged and corrupt and a lot of workers in the electricity department are not even equipped with the proper training or skills.

“What is the cause for Celebration in a Nation where cows are more valued than human lives and human rights are constantly being violated, what is the cause for Celebration in a Nation where politicians take pride in election malpractices, thuggery and looting?

“After sixty years of independence, the only thing we can celebrate as a Nation is our increase population which has in turn brought about increased poverty and sufferings.”

The Executive Director, Tap Initiative, Martin Obono, said, “Nigeria has not gotten it right after 60 years of independence but we are making progress. We ought not to be where we are today if we had the right kind of leadership for a period of time because as a country, we have a lot of other countries to learn from.

“We have borrowed a Federal System if government from the US, we have borrowed laws from many countries but how come it is very difficult for us to borrow leadership style?

“We have a very long way to get it right especially in the area of human rights, we grapple with a lot of cases of violations and unwarranted killings of citizens at 60.”