By Benjamin Njoku
…Say: This is not the country of our dream
…Entertainment the only sector giving us hope as a nation
As Nigeria marks her 62nd independence anniversary today, some strong voices in the country’s entertainment sector have lamented the state of the nation, saying the unprecedented level of insecurity, corruption, unemployment, and poverty have marred the economic growth of the country in the past decades.
They, however, urged Nigerians to ensure that they elect a leader in the forthcoming presidential election that will pilot the affairs of the country differently from the terrible way it had been operated in the past.
As they put it, “Nigeria needs a new lease of life at this time to avoid degenerating into a failed state.”
Commenting on the state of the nation after 62 years of achieving self-rule, veteran filmmaker, Tade Ogidan scored Nigeria below average, lamenting the country’s steady drift to anarchy.
His words: “This is sadly not the country we grew up in. We grew up in a country, where we were all brothers. There was nothing like a northerner or southerner. These were just nomenclature of a time. Your best friends then were northerners as well as southerners. You lived in any part of the country peacefully. But today, nothing is working. This country has all the potentials in the world.
“A country with this volume of human beings, we are not applying these things to sensible advantage. Look at China with a massive population, they use it to their advantage. We are too loose, we take too much for granted. Things are not the way they really should be.
“Nothing is working in Nigeria. We need a lot of discipline. All this politicking is nonsense. We need a sober-minded leader. We also need to instill discipline in the system so that politics can work. Any other thing outside that is not workable. We need to fix the foundation of the constitution of the country.”
Also, speaking in the same vein, film scholar and President of the Directors Guild of Nigeria, DGN, Mr Victor Okhai bemoaned the state of the nation, noting that entertainment is the only sector that is giving hope to Nigerians at the moment.
“Entertainment is the only sector that is currently giving us hope as a nation. Oil has done its bit. Unfortunately, the economy has witnessed a lot of ups and downs. But there is one thing that gives us hope and manages to keep Nigeria in the limelight, it’s entertainment; the art, music and Nollywood.
“So, at 62, I can say that the remaining breath of fresh air that we have, the one thing that gives us hope, the light at the end of the tunnel that makes us believe there’s a bright tomorrow is what the young people are doing today with entertainment. As a matter of fact, entertainment has put Nigeria on the world map, and managed to savage what is left of our reputation,” Okhai noted.
Speaking further, he decried the divisive role that religion and ethnic sentiments have played in terms of unifying the country. He, therefore, urged Nigerians to look critically at what candidates that are vying for public offices have to offer, their pedigrees and where they are coming from before electing them.
“Two things have divided us in this country: religion and ethnicity. It hasn’t benefited us in any way at all. The kind of leader we need in 2023 is a leadership that can unite the whole country. We see a new set of leadership emerging in Nigeria right now. The group that has been out of sight all this while, the young people have finally decided that enough is enough.
“And they have decided that it’s time to decide on their today and their tomorrow. So, they are coming together as one, not minding religion and ethnicity. They are looking critically at what candidates have to offer, their pedigrees and where they are coming from . What it means is that the leader for tomorrow must be detribalized, educated and a unifier,” Okhai stressed.
Popular actor and Senior Special Adviser on entertainment to Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State, Sir Bob-Manuel Udokwu regretted that at 62, Nigeria has not fared very well as a nation.
According to him, “Nigerians have another golden opportunity to elect a leadership that will heal the nation, reconcile the disparate nationalities that make up the country in the general election of 2023. “My expectation in the coming elections is for the masses, especially the youths and young adults to take back the country by doing something by electing a leader that will run the country differently from the terrible way it was always run,” Udokwu stated.