Opinion: Looking back at Nigeria’s Independence… where we stated from

by Adisa Adeleye


Many patriotic Nigerians are yet to be convinced that President Jonathan is a statesman and not one of those wily politicians who put party before the nation.  They always believe, and perhaps justifiably so, that they owe their eminent positions to the party.

The month of September which daily bears news of surprise attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in Maiduguri, other isolated places, and of recent, Abuja  seems to be crawling to its uncertain end.  However, the crisis within the ruling party, Peoples  Democratic Party (PDP) remains unsolved at this moment.

Many commentators on Nigerian affairs agree that the present happenings in the country‘s political and economic affairs are necessary for the Nigerian leaders to wake-up and re-assess the current situation.

Though the military force appears to be weakening, the full range of insurgency, sporadic uprisings, kidnappings and ritual killings are still the challenges of the moment.

The devastation of Nasarawa State by Ombatse cult members is a grim reminder of the general problem of insecurity in the country.

Unfortunately, the leaders of the political parties seem to think that the elections of 2015 and the Second Term agenda of the current President are the main issues.  It does not make much sense to state that elections could be meaningful only if the country is stable and fairly prosperous.

The sordid political situation in which the ruling party is devoting much time to either ‘patching up‘ or break, rather than ruling this country positively, has influenced some patriotic Nigerians to suggest a form of dialogue or conference to re-examine the structure or foundation of the edifice called Nigeria.  The present picture bears the characteristics of a failing State where life is not only in danger but living is precarious.

While the calls for a conference by elders and notable politicians, especially the Senate President, David Mark and Chief Edwin Clark – all great supporters of President are praise worthy, it would require a great show of statesmanship and not a crafty trait of a politician for the calls to be heard.

Many patriotic Nigerians are yet to be convinced that President Jonathan is a statesman and not one of those wily politicians who put party before the nation.  They always believe, and perhaps justifiably so, that they owe their eminent positions to the party.  And they lamentably forget that others like Generals Obasanjo, Buhari, Babangida, Abacha and Abubakar had ruled the country without belonging to political parties.  Perhaps, they were members of the ‘Third Party‘ of Adisa Akinloye‘s conception during the 1970s and 1980s.

While the conveying of a conference may be the ultimate step to resolving the country‘s problems, some are suggesting that Nigerian leaders should work back in their minds to the starting block – the year of Independence in 1960.  Nigeria‘s freedom from British imperialism was fought and won on the promise of continuous peace and freedom.  Before 1960, the federal cabinet was made up of representatives from the three Regions (North, West and East (with Cameroons):  The action of the Central Government could be said to represent the collective wish of the people of Nigeria.

Unfortunately, the post-independence federal government was not a truly national one, but based on the alliance by politicians of the Northern Peoples‘ Congress (NPC) and the NCNC – leaving out the AG of the West.  That alliance could not prevent the military coup of 1966 and the civil war of 1967.  It is noted that similar political alliance in 1979 could not stop those politicians in military uniform to seize power in the coup of 1983.

Many political analysts believed then that if a genuine national government had been formed in 1960, there would have been no coup in 1966 and the subsequent unnecessary civil war.  A rational national government in 1979 and 1983 could perhaps have prevented the coup of 1983.  In politics of underdevelopment (especially in a plural society), a genuine national government, representing the interest of all appears to be one of the reliable solutions to national problems.  Therefore, the present federal cabinet should reflect representatives approved by their respective states.

The economy at Independence was rural, with agricultural products, groundnut, cocoa and palm oil, providing the mainstay.  Each of the regions was bountifully blessed by nature.  Each regional government relied on local taxes‘ – income and corporate for its administration before the advent of oil and its disruptive influences.

The old regions also developed industrial estates and made special arrangements with foreign companies for the manufacturing of import substitutes.  A more rigorous application of present agricultural agenda with extra efforts on local production of imported commodities would remind us of the golden past in the pursuit of a comprehensive full employment policy.

Sovereign Wealth Fund  (SWF)

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had this to say at the recent Euro-money Conference:   The fund is about One billion dollars (more than N150 billion) The fund is being invested overseas in real and financial assets such as: Stocks, Bonds, Real Estate, Precious Metals, among others  The Sovereign Wealth Fund and the excess crude account are like a buffer that will stabilize the economy. The Sovereign Wealth Fund was created to re-distribute oil wealth for the benefit of the present and future generations.

It will also help in providing critical social infrastructure to stimulate the private sector investments for economic growth.  Perhaps the Central Bank Governor would tell the nation how investments of our oil money in foreign countries would benefit the local economy which is plagued by serious problems of unemployment and dilapidated infrastructures.

It may also be necessary for him to explain how employment can grow under a continuous tight monetary policy.  However, his plan not to support the policy of naira devaluation is welcome.


Read this article in the Sun Newspapers


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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