Nigeria @61: So Far, How Far?

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(Last Updated On: 2021-10-04)

Last Friday, Nigeria marked her 61 years independence from British colonial rule. The attainment of over six decades of freedom of being a Sovereign nation ought to have been celebrated to the roof tops across the country but, the anniversary day served as a sober moment for millions of Nigerians, with the sorry situation Nigerians found themselves, to enable the fashioning of a better way forward. What matters more in a life of a man is not necessarily the rough beginning, but how the tides are managed for a glorious future and a fulfilling ending. It is even more critical in the life of a nation where millions of lives are affected negatively by the deeds and misdeeds of the privileged few who are regarded as political leaders.

True enough that Nigeria is endowed with enormous human resources even beyond the overflowing natural resources, the story told by millions of Nigerians last Friday, as the country marked another independence anniversary, is that of suffering amidst plenty. Nigerians bashed the elites in power, particularly leaders that have been privileged to be at the helm of affairs of the nation since the beginning of the Fourth Republic in 1999, for failing to provide effective leadership that would have moved the nation ahead of the crawling stage at the age of 61.

Precisely, it is in the area of leadership that Nigeria is most deeply wanting since it won independence in 1960. Two out of the past six decades have been spent under military rule. Possibly, because of the sheer number of years we spent under the military or because of the pernicious influence the military wielded, our country has been shaped more by authoritarian rather than democratic mindset.

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Indeed, even elected governments have themselves been influenced more by autocratic behavious than by the rule of law or democratic tenets the constitution presupposes. Thus, the best hands had largely been shut out of corridors of power at the federal and state levels. Nigerians too, on whose ignorance the mediocre ride into power have their own share of the rot. When our erstwhile colonial masters, the British, were in charge, election campaigns and the voting exercise were never a do -or -die affair as it was in the country today.

For the Cover this week, the Editorial Team decided to take a brief look at the unchanging face of politics in the country and our politicians warm up for the 2023 general elections. This is to remind us all of where and how things went wrong. The cover story is our own contribution on the way forward for Nigeria’s long journey to the promised land.

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