As the country marks its 54th Independence Anniversary, The Dream Daily Reporters – Gift Chapi, Ferdinand Beshel and Michael Linus McPat – sample grassroots opinion on the nation’s progress, or otherwise, thus far…
Daniel David: Civil Servant
Nigeria, in the past 54 years, has achieved a lot in many areas but obviously more needs to be done. President Goodluck Jonathan has done so many progressive things in the past four years, despite the challenges in the country. I think Nigerians should join hands with the government to bring insurgence to a halt. We can only progress if we are united. As a growing nation all we need is to believe in ourselves and do the right thing.
Mary Abraham: Civil Servant
Right from Independence our founding fathers and past leaders have achieved many things. It is unfortunate that today some people want to bring this country down because of their selfish interests. Nevertheless, personally I believe in this country and I also believe that we will get to our Promise Land.
Nigeria is a developing country and looking at what we have achieved within the past 54 years it is obvious that this nation is great. When we look at where other developed countries are coming from we will see that at one point or the other, they faced challenges just like ours. So it is not new, Nigeria is not the first and will not be the last to face these challenges. That is why we should join hand with the government and fight insurgency.
Mrs Shade Akinyele: Civil Servant
Looking at the Nigerian economy, I don’t think we have achieved much, the government needs to do more in so many areas. For instance, the government has a lot of work to do in the Education Sector. Prices of goods are on the high side, our youths are unemployed, crime is on the increase and we are also aware of the crises in the North-East.
All these are happening because our leaders failed to do their work at some point in time. They neglected so many things that should have been taken serious, which has led to Boko Haram today. Boko Haram did not start today; it started a very long time ago but we ignored them and today we are feeling the pinch.
Mrs Lucy Udoh, Businesswoman
I am so proud of Nigeria. The truth is that we can never have a country like this again. That is why we should protect our country jealously. Many foreign nations look at Nigeria and wish they are naturally endowed like we are. Even though some people have taken it upon themselves to destroy this country, I believe we will overcome. We are progressing as a nation, although we have some challenges. I believe if we come together in unity, we will fight back and win.
Azubuike Onuegbu, Public Affairs Analyst
Nigerian leaders have made nonsense of our independence as a nation. At 54, it is regrettable that Nigerians are still ‘orphans in Paradise.’ Rather than manage the abundant natural resources that God has given us to create wealth and prosperity for the citizenry, our leaders have chosen to manage poverty and impoverished the Nigerian People. Arrogance, selfishness, greed and avarice on the part of our leaders have ruined the hope and expectations of Nigerians for a happy, contented, better life.
For Nigeria to take her rightful place in the comity of nations, our leaders must quickly drop these negative values since flowers do not grow in the garden of stones. God Save Nigeria!
Eduardo Utibe Daniel
The current challenges or stalemate in Nigeria did not start with President Jonathan. Let us not forget that some office holders at different levels of leadership, including former presidents who deliberately neglect their responsibility toward growth and development in the country, have a question to answer in posterity.
A lack of disciplined leadership threatens and remains the bane of the Nigerian society. Let us concertedly create a platform to harness our abundant human and material resources for the good of even the generations still to come.
We are happy and proud to be Nigerians. We are today facing insecurity as a challenge. We also have our educational institutions to put in order. I will advise our authorities to train and recruit more security personnel to handle the security challenges. Youth should also be granted opportunities for empowerment to explore their potential.
Simon Luka Duyah
We know that social and economic insecurities are of global concern. But I think Nigeria does not lack the internal capacity and ability to contain our challenges; materially and otherwise.
Nigeria is the most endowed country in Africa. The upcoming generations must act to harness the country’s potential. At 54, we should look forward to a generational revolution that is development conscious. We already have the structures, although they need improvement. We need to put in much more now in order to change the ugly and wrong perceptions the World has of us.
At 54, Nigeria is a cosmetic expression of sovereignty submerged in a putrid vineyard of rehabilitation. We are still crawling like a baby learning how to walk. The green and white is still pregnant, and it is yet to be delivered. Apart from stable democracy and divine unity, we are plagued by epileptic power supply, poor roads, insecurity problems, unemployment, leadership problems and corruption in high and low places.
It is clear to a large extent that Nigeria is tilting backward. The youth – the active force of every society – is detached from the schemes of things. Let us be sincere, how many youth will agree that they are involved and feel a sense of belonging in our country? If our leader and other men in authority can honestly excise the virus of corruption and adopt options or models that have worked for Singapore and other countries, then shall we have taken the first and necessary steps.
Yes, Nigeria is 54! She is now a mature woman expecting to see her grownup children or grandchildren. But where are the jobs for the teeming graduates or opportunities to explore their potential? Where is the fulfilment of promise made by our leaders and guardians over time?
I call on all opinion moulders to consider, with urgency, the need for social re-engineering with a policy direction bearing the fundament of genuine and radical human development.
Ilevba Augustine – Civil Servant
It was a thing of joy when Nigeria left colonial rule for self-rule. However, today, despite the abundant blessings which abound in the country, Nigerians are thinking of going back to ‘Egypt’. Leaders have made Nigerians strangers in their own land. If our resources have been put into good use, other parts of the world would have been looking up to Nigeria. Where the country is today, is regrettable. My advice is for leaders to remember that every action of man has reward. God Bless Nigeria!
Daniel Ukotsoki Ishaya
I see Nigeria at 54 as a father in old age who discovered that he did not leave any inheritance or standards for his slumbering children, realising he is getting closer to the grave but suddenly awakens to face reality. Leadership and followership must rise to the need of present time to resurrect our dear country at old age for greater good.
Paul Noah Itodo, Civil Servant
Nigeria, as a giant of Africa, at 54 is but a cripple giant diseased by corruption and greed. I advise that our anti-corruption agencies should be fully granted the order of their statutory establishment and swing into action without fear or favour.
Joseph Esse Akong
There seems not to be any changes positive enough to affect the lives of the common man in this country at 54. The reckless corruption and present threat of insecurity are but a few (challenges) to mention.
My opinion is that if we cannot survive together as a country with the interest of all the so-called minor ethnic groups at heart, then it will be better for the country to divide.
Michael Omoba, Undergraduate
Nigeria has truly come of age. 54 years of independence and 15 years of uninterrupted democracy to me is worth celebrating. The current administration has recorded a lot of achievements that cut across all area of our economy, of course building on the foundation and legacy of the two immediate past administrations of President Olusegun Obasanjo and the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. However, credit must be given to all the military regimes of the past as well. They all contributed in one way or the other to the achievement recorded so far in our 54 years of nationhood.
Omobolanle Taiwo, Student
I think Nigeria is striving hard to be a powerful country. Nigeria is still a developing country and to be a powerful country that can stand on her own no matter the challenges, we have to go through many hardships like insurgency, corruption, economic instability, etc. Nevertheless, I believe we will overcome all these, if only we’ll put our hands together to achieve just one common goal, that is, to build Nigeria into an outstanding country among other nations. We need to build a more peaceful country.
Pamela Aghabon, Unemployed youth
I love Nigeria, she’s a beautiful country. Once upon a time, she was a peaceful place to live, the envy of other nations. Unfortunately, not any more. The government of the day has done pretty well in road construction and water supply. Electricity is improving, though it has gone bad in the last couple of days. However, the government should put more effort in the area of employment. I see no reason why someone would finishes school does not get job opportunity. Able youth roam the street daily in search of job, this shouldn’t be the case. Lastly, we love President Jonathan, but he should be bold enough to fish out the enemies of the country. Happy birthday Nigeria!
Nseobong Uko Jnr, an unemployed graphics designer
I see no reason to celebrate at all. Celebrate what, if I may ask? Corruption everywhere, unemployment, no stable electricity, the queue at the patrol stations are back again, pipe borne water is nowhere to be found. Here – in Kuduru, Bwari Area Council – the roads are bad. There’s no government in Nigeria; only selfish set of people who are so corrupt and don’t have us the masses at heart at all. Tell me why should the government of the day be dinning with alleged sponsors of terrorism and highly corrupt people? I expect the President to distance himself from anyone link to graft and crime, that’s if he is corruption-free himself. Abeg, forget these people!
Mrs. Ajaja Ikeoluwa, Small business owner
The government hasn’t achieved anything at all. I can’t score them anything I must be sincere with you. Since we got independence 54 years ago things are worse now. They’ve totally failed us I must confess. Look at other countries that got their independence with us, they’ve made better progress than us. Just imagine the masses still contributing money to buy transformer after they told us NEPA had been privatised. Where else do you see such a thing if not in Nigeria? We shouldn’t celebrate any independence; we’re being short-changed every day. This isn’t fair at all; our rulers should hide their faces in shame.
Dickson Yohanna, Teenager
To be honest, the current government has achieve a lot compared to others before it since independence. In areas like transportation, especially in the rail sector, a lot is going on. We should celebrate. Why not?
Ayodele Terry, MC/DJ and Poultry Attendant
We’ve made a lot of progress since independence. Look at the security challenge, for example. If other countries were faced with the same situation, I tell you those countries wouldn’t survive it. Secondly, look at the achievement in telecommunication compare to let say 20 to 30 years back. We can now talk to anyone at any time. In fact everybody now owns a mobile phone. However, economically, we’ve totally failed. The purchasing power of the naira is nothing to write home about. During the military regime, we could buy a lot with few kobo.
Terfa Zangir, Poultry Attendant
We should celebrate. There’s a lot of improvement in the power sector, for example. In recent times, NEPA (PHCN) has seriously improved. Security has also been good if not for the Boko Haram issue that is a serious challenge to this government. In my state – Benue – for example, the killings that were going on before are no more. Our governor is trying, except for few areas the government should put more efforts.
Mrs. Ben Okafor, Housewife
Fifty-fouryears of independence yet no job for our graduates. It’s a shame and a mockery to those who’ve spend years going from nursery through secondary to university yet come out and roam the streets without any employment. The old have refused to give ways to the younger ones. As a mother, I feel so bad seeing this. If this government and the incoming ones can put an end to unemployment issue, then they will have my vote and support. Needless to talk of lack of adequate infrastructure.
Sarah Salisa Timoni, Undergraduate
Nigeria our great land is blessed with wonderful things of life. 54 years of independence is worth celebrating. Nevertheless, we expect more effort in education, security, helping the less-privileged with social security and job opportunities. So far, the government has improved in road construction, education although Boko Haram is a threat to our oneness. Lastly, the government should do more in the health sector; there should be free treatment for all vulnerable citizens, especially in rural areas.