by ‘Jola Sotubo
As the date for Nigeria’s 53rd year of Independence draws near, the country’s senators have bemoaned the state of the nation and lamented that the country had not met the expectations of its founding fathers.
The legislators expressed this sentiment yesterday during a debate on a motion tagged “Congratulations to Nigerians on her 53rd Independence Anniversary.”
The debate was reportedly sponsored by Senators Victor Ndoma-Egba, PDP,Cross River Central and Ita Enang, PDP, Akwa Ibom North East,and ten others,who expressed regret that Nigeria was still far below expectation, especially when compared with its contemporaries like Malaysia and Brazil.
They insisted that Nigeria was in a pitiable state when compared to some other countries in the world that became independent nations about the same time as Nigeria.
Contributing to the debate, Senator Smart Adeyemi,PDP, Kogi West, said though at independence Nigeria was considered to be one of the emerging great nations of the world, it was more or less a dashed hope, even in its present state at 53.
He identified parochialism as one of the major problems of modern day Nigerians, particularly in the realm of leadership.
He said: “At 53, were Nigeria nation being governed the way it is supposed to have been governed over the years, we shouldn’t be talking about federal character.”
“Unlike patriotic leaders like the late Sir Ahmadu Bello, the late Nnamdi Azikwe, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, etc, who started the Nigerian project on a very solid note, anchored on maximizing the greatest goods for the greatest number of people, most of the modern day leaders after the independence era, have been running aground the Nigerian nation, being parochial leaders.”
Adeyemi said the problem of parochial leadership rocking the country at the moment had turned most of the state governors to be governors of the ethnic group they belong to in the states, as well as other highly placed public officers, thus adversely affecting the country’s development.
“For Nigeria to be great as hoped from the beginning there is need for possible change of mindset of all Nigerians, both followers and leaders, to the Nigeria project.
”We need to start seeing ourselves first as Nigerians before remembering any other primordial identities, the needed national orientation used by countries like India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore etc, all that were at the same level with Nigeria in the 60’s but far more developed than it today,” he said.
Also speaking, Senator Ganiyu Solomon, APC, Lagos West, said at 53, it was regrettable that Nigeria was still where it was when compared to other countries that started the journey of independent nationhood with it.
He urged self-assessment to reflect on the nation’s past for the needed insight into how to position her for the future through collective responsibility.
In his own contribution, Senator Ademola Adeseun, APC, Oyo State, talked on the need for the National Assembly to be more proactive in setting the agenda for Nigerian development in the coming years.
According to him, the first republic that was rated to be the best era in the nation’s history was more or less driven by the parliament.
Senators Mohammadu Magoro, PDP, Kebbi South, Eyinaya Abaribe,PDP Abia South, Kabiru Gaya,APC, Kano South, noted that at 53, problems such as teeming youth unemployment, poor electricity supply, incessant ethno-religious crises etc, were to be things of the past for the country.
They, therefore, tasked government at all levels to be more serious on the development of the country.
Senate President, David Mark, in his own remarks, regretted that the attitude of most Nigerians today were contrary to what “our old National Anthem stood for.”