By Dayo Johnson— AKURE
A chieftain of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, and former Minister of Power and Steel, Dr Olu Agunloye, has asked the Federal Government to focus its attention on the nation’s challenges in the areas of economy, violent unrest and widespread insecurity.
Agunloye, in a new year message made available to newsmen in Akure, Ondo State capital, lamented that “the outgone vicious year 2020 bore its fang with several violent unrest, kidnappings, road ambushes, killings of innocent citizens, Covid-19 pandemic, and economic recession.
“As we enter a new year 2021, we should reflect on the various challenges facing our country and the nation’s struggles to rid itself of corruption and corrupt leaders; struggles with unemployment of youths, nose-diving economy, widespread violent unrest, inadequate infrastructure and widespread insecurity.
“As individuals, we reflect on our various personal struggles to grapple with our challenges. We struggle to pay rent, struggle to get education, struggle to get employment, struggle to get health care.
“We struggle to put food on the table, struggle to avoid being kidnapped and struggle to stay alive.
“This New Year message is direct and unpretentious. It is that while recognising that we are faced with serious challenges and struggles, it is also time for all well-meaning Nigerians to embrace another type of struggle.
“It will be a struggle to terminate prevalent struggles. This new struggle will be primarily to enshrine social justice through a new drive to restructure Nigeria and enthrone a correct Constitution for Nigeria that will provide proper guidelines and guidance on how we live together, work together, share profits, penalties, and rewards.
“The new struggle will be about how we select or elect only credible, competent and compassionate people into positions of leadership.
“The new struggle will have to revamp nationwide efforts to attack gross unemployment of youths, assure youths empowerment and their placement in positions of leadership across the country.
“The main thrust for the new struggle is our resentment of the place where we are as a nation. We are not where we want to be or where we ought to be.
“Nigerians of diverse status agree that the country is not at its best, they only disagree on what caused this and how to get out of the woods.
“At this point, it is noteworthy that the life of Nigeria, as a nation, has been held in abeyance for 55 years since January 1966. That was when the Nigerian Constitution was suspended by unwarranted military interregnum.
“We cannot but refer to the misrule and misgoverning by the military and civilian governments since Independence and especially in the last 21 years, but this is not where or when to dwell on this aberration.
“What is important at this point is that the life of the nation has hung in abeyance for 55 years without valid rules, guidelines, guidance and regulations known as Constitution made by ‘we the people of Nigeria’.
“The system cannot deter unhealthy ethnic rivalries and systemic ethnic domineering tendencies or unbearable levels of violence and gross insecurities.
“With the above, the new struggle for course correction has become imperative. All social democrats and other progressives should be in this new struggle to structure and restructure the basis of our nation’s union as a Nation to assure social justice, equity and fairness for the progress for all sectors, all ethnicities and all regions of Nigeria.
“The goal is for an average person to be able to put food on the table and be able to eat the food. This is a simple way of expressing the goal of economy and security for all.
“The goal is, however, easy to define but hard to achieve. This is because achieving the goal requires the third leg, politics, of the development tripod of economy, security and politics.
“Therefore, the new struggle will require a new politics.
“ln this wise, all social democrats, progressives, and positive thinkers of all shades, wherever they are or from in Nigeria or in the diaspora, need to join hands together to bring about new politics based on justice, equity and fair play.”
Agunloye, who was also the former Minister of State for Defence, said that “The emergent politicians must encourage more Nigerians to become a new generation of politicians.
“A generation motivated by the development of a new restructured Nigeria, leveraging on empowered youths for the benefit of all Nigerians in respective of class, religion, tribe, or location,” Agunloye added.