By Yusufu Shehu Usman
Today we are celebrating our 59th Independence Anniversary. I believe we have every right and reason to roll out the red carpet be beat the drums in celebration.
We have no doubt made significant strides and recorded notable achievements in these years. We have witnessed the Good, the Bad and the Ugly in our journey through nationhood
However, before we get drenched in ceremonies, we should remind ourselves that we are still far off from our desired destination
We therefore, have a lot of work to do, a lot of adjustments to make and a lot of things to put right
I have said it severally in my previous posts and at the risk of repetition, let me reiterate it today especially on this Independence day that:
We are a nation constantly in search of our glorious past, while we grope in the present without any inkling on the future
It’s like our past is better than our present . We must therefore interrogate the circumstances that have made our present so chaotic and our future gloom.
The labours of our heroes past seem to be what has been sustaining the nation.
We have not done much to build on the achievements of the past heroes
All successive administrations have not worked hard enough to cement our unity, consolidate and improve our economy, better the lives of the common man or provide adequate security for lives and properties
There was Corruption in Nigeria even before Independence and it festered after Independence. It got worst and out of control after Independence and it’s at it’s worst level under the presidential system of government we adopted in 1999
It is my opinion that the Buhari Administration has fought and is fighting Corruption with more determination and commitment than any government had done before his. No government has so far stirred the economic ship of the state in the right direction or on the path of emancipation of the poor and the vulnerable. The lives of the poor citizens has not made any significant improvement in the past 59 years. The thread of poverty and deprivation has continued unabated for these Nigerians who have never ceased to live on the fringes of life before, during and after Independence.
To The poor and the vulnerable, it has been a case of dependence in supposed independence with their lives hamstrung and emasculated by policies which have not made any meaningful impact on them or their livelihood
It is also my candid view that security has only deteriorated and assumed a more precarious dimension since Independence. The only notable watershed being the civil war.
There are appreciable exploits by successive governments on infrastructural development. However, the achievements are not far reaching. The roads continue to be in terrible conditions, we have not developed water transportation, we lost our national carrier to Corruption and mismanagement and we are seriously lacking In rail transport.
In 59 years, health and education have declined. The majority of the population is still ravaged by avoidable diseases and the cost of the medical health care has gone beyond the reach of the ordinary man
Our standard of education has declined considerably compared to the standard before and at Independence. We have built physical educational structures In quantity but have failed to train the human resources needed to run them on functional basis.
The end result of this is mass production of graduates who in truth are half baked and unemployable.
The common thread that runs through all these national challenges, is Corruption. It is the monster that has taken us by the jugular. It is at the root of most of our failure as a nation
We can blame ninety percent of our woes to Corruption. It breeds incompetence, ineptitude, it is manifests through nepotism, it is the mother of “connection” which destroys merit and competence in the public service and political patronage
Unless we shun corruption and reinvent our values, imbibe a paradigm shift In our attitudes, we can’t move forward as a nation, we can’t have peace and Security and we will either stagnate or be moving in backward direction as far as growth and development are concerned