As Nigeria clocks in at 62 minutes today, The Tide takes a look at how the country has fared since its independence in 1960, based on people’s opinions. As expected, people differed in their assessment. While many Nigerians said the country had failed to realize the dreams of its founding fathers, others described the current situation in the country as a process of nation building, expressing hope that the country will soon overcome its current challenges.
Here are some of the opinions collected by our correspondents.
Speaking to The Tide at his palace in Woji, Supreme Ruler of the Woji community, Eze Emeka Ihunwo, said the country is at ground zero at the moment.
Ihunwo said it was unfortunate that the country at 62 was still grappling with the challenges of insecurity and poor governance.
“Nigeria at 62; we are at ground zero: the insecurity in this country has destroyed Nigeria.
“I don’t know if insecurity has added to make our money look like rubbish. I can not understand! Today there is inflation; at the same time, people are being killed at will,” he said.
Monarch Woji said that for Nigeria to do things right, people must eliminate tribalism and wondered why octogenarians still want to rule the country when everywhere they are capable and quality young men.
He commented on Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for his strong leadership in the state.
Also speaking, King Benson Mgbowaji Egwenre Oruk, Okan-Ama Kingdom of Ataba Kingdom in Andoni Local Government Area, said the country had disappointed its founding fathers.
He said that at 62, the country has failed to live up to the expectations of its people, nothing but Nigeria has continued to slide into a pariah state.
He also said that the days when the Nigerian currency was at par with the US dollar and the British pound were over, adding that at present the naira had been wiped out.
Egwenre said what was needed at the moment was a committed and God-fearing leader to steer the affairs of state.
The Royal Father also praised Governor Nyesom Wike for providing quality leadership in the state.
He used the occasion to call on politicians in the Ataba Kingdom and the rest of Andoni to embark on thematic campaigns while urging people to remain peaceful.
However, in his opinion, EzeIgbu Ubie 111 in Ahoada West Local Government Area, Eze Okpokiri Maxwell said that Nigeria is going through its period of growth and development.
He said the dreams of the founding fathers had not been misplaced as every nation has its challenges.
The Royal Father said political independence had brought freedom to Nigerians, stressing that all the challenges the country is currently facing will be overcome one day.
Speaking further, an activist Prince Williams Chinwo also decried Nigeria’s dwindling fortunes and expressed hope that the country will one day emerge from the enigma.
For a university professor at Rivers State University, Dr Monday Didia, Nigeria at 62 should not be celebrated given the murder rate and economic downturn lately.
Didia said no parent would be happy to give birth to a child like Nigeria who chose to be a toddler at 62.
“I don’t think Nigeria at 62 deserves to be celebrated except for fun. How not to celebrate anything? Ranging from the economy to the least, no remarkable impact has been made,” he said. declared.
The university has disapproved of the more than seven-month industrial strike launched by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which it says has caused a setback in the education sector.
Another respondent, Mr Bobby Amadi, a farmer, described Nigeria as a near failure at 62.
Amadi recalled the oil boom era of the early 1970s and how farmers were considered lords, lamenting that Nigeria wasted oil money on frivolities and became poor.
He told how the Malaysians took palm seedlings from Nigeria and became the largest palm oil producer in the world while the natural owner of the product [Nigeria] trails far behind.
“Well, we are Nigerians, what we celebrate is Independence Day and nothing more. The reason is that we cannot sincerely highlight something that we have achieved independently,” he said. -he declares.
Meanwhile, a senior immigration official, who requested anonymity, noted that Nigerians were leaving the country in droves for other parts of the world due to poor governance.
According to him, passport offices across the country deal daily with applicants who wish to leave the country with their families in search of greener pastures.
A political scientist and senior lecturer at Ignatius Ajuru University of Education (IAUE), Port Harcourt, Dr. Oboada Alafonye Uriah, said Nigerians are wallowing in a vicious cycle of development.
”You prove that you are growing, but you improve six steps forward and then you go back seven steps. So, are we really progressing? No we are not”.
He lamented the high level of insecurity, economic difficulties and low level of education in the country.
”Nigeria has depreciated to the point that any right-thinking Nigerian should worry whether we have the country Nigeria or not. In fact, Nigeria failed. From all points of view, we have failed,” he lamented.
Moving forward, Uriah advocated for transparency and accountability in governance, saying that once there is common sense at the top, it will permeate all sectors,
Another respondent, barrister Sunny Igwe, who is a jurist, said Nigeria at 62 is painful “because we seem visionless”.
He said that despite Nigeria’s abundant human and natural resources, the country is wallowing in misery and scarcity due to what he called “visionless leadership”.
He wondered why the country continues to spend trillions of naira on fuel subsidies when we should have used the money to fix the country’s four refineries.
He therefore urged Nigerians to elect good leaders who have the potential to move the nation forward.
Along the same lines, a banker, Erasmus Amakiri, described Nigeria at 62 as a complete failure.
He said Nigeria was falling behind in the economy, power supply and job creation.
”Besides this, Nigeria has a debt that even our great-grandchildren cannot repay. More than 4 trillion naira. It’s crazy. We are not moving forward, for me Nigeria is a complete failure.
”It’s my country. I love it, but after, the leaders do not help us. At 62, we’re supposed to be adults but we’re still like babies,” he said.
A doctor and head of the department of pharmacology at Rivers State University (RSU), Dr. Ekene Woke, also hit Nigeria below the belt.
According to him, ”there is nothing to celebrate or remember about it. A 62-year-old man is a grown man and should be able to correct his mistakes, but for Nigeria the opposite is happening. We have learned nothing from our past mistakes. The country is at war with itself. Citizens are being killed every day and the government can only give excuses every time.
”Nigeria at 62 is a complete failure. What area is left out? Is it water? Water is a basic government necessity, but people use boreholes for their water supply. Is it security? People build vigilantes. The state police have been shut down by people who take advantage of the system. It was only Nigeria that copied the federal system of the United States but only removed the state police part for reasons that people don’t understand.
”However, the one thing we can celebrate in Nigeria is that the country did not divide. But unity must have reasons to make citizens happy. If we had been divided, things would have been much worse than that. So we only have the celebration of unity.
In his view, the Chairman of the National Association of Oil and Gas Retailers of Nigeria Surface Reservoirs and Professor of Engineering, King Onyeche Promise Obinna said that Nigeria has failed with the leadership.
He said Nigeria needed determined and creative leadership that could make things better, noting that the capacity to deliver governance policies that will generate and recreate wealth and make it the envy of all nations is lacking.
However, Professor Isaac Zeb-Bipi of Rivers State University, said Nigeria has seen positive changes in education.
”At least now we can talk about having more institutions at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. One can speak of the introduction of private institutions in addition to public schools. We can talk about producing a good number of our fellow citizens through these institutions so that they can read and write,” he said.
However, he said that the national education could have done better in the area of infrastructure and manpower if proper policies had been put in place.
”Yes, we could have done better by having well-equipped schools, we could have done better by having products from those schools that are properly and thoroughly educated, we could have done better by having properly-stocked education providers because , we could have done better by making our institutions responsive to the demands of the industries,” he said.
Zeb-Bipi praised the state of infrastructure at Rivers State University, attributing it to the visionary leadership of Governor Nyesom Wike and the pragmatic leadership of Vice-Chancellor Professor Nlerum Sunday Okogbule.
BY: Tonye Nria-Dappa, Lady Godknows Ogbulu, John Bibor,
King Onunwor, Susan Serekara-Nwikhana & Oreoluwa Adigun