Former Lagos state governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu believes that there are no obvious reasons why Nigeria should celebrate its 54th Independence in an elaborate fashion.
In a statement released on Monday, the Jagaban of Borgu said that Nigeria is yet to attain its potentials despite all its staggering natural resources. He lamented the suffering of Nigerians which he believes was caused by poor leadership.
He said: “We commemorate this Independence Day because the nation has survived despite its many challenges. We dare not celebrate because the nation has not flourished as it should. 54 years our national trek began with hope and promise, peace and unity.
“Today, the nation staggers beneath the weight of trouble stacked upon problem multiplied by hardship. Peace and unity seem to have yielded the moment to violence and discord. We exist as a political unit on a map but we do not prosper as brothers and sisters in one nation, under one flag and pursuant to one accord. We have lost our road and now seem to be on the road of the lost. I am proud to be a Nigerian and would not attach my life to any other nation but genuine patriotism should not induce blindness. We are burdened by too many resolvable challenges that remain unresolved,” he said.
He noted that: “This is not a time for fake cheers and elation at the present state of things just because the calendar has touch this day. We need to use this hour soberly by taking stock of the obstacles mounting before us and of the hard direction in which we seem to be heading. I fear this direction, if further taken, will lead us not home but to an appointment with failure and national destitution. At their inception, every nation is a dynamic interplay of assets and liabilities, promises and threats, capabilities and contradictions. As time passes, the nation is supposed to move forward in mature progress so its assets, promise and capabilities increasingly outweigh their negative counterparts.
“In recent years, Nigeria has become victim to an opposite dynamic. Nigeria currently is saddled with the reprobate leadership Awo, Zik, Sardauna and Tafawa Belewa feared. We have entered unchartered territory not so much because we are expanding the outer bounds of national progress. We traverse such ground because this government leads us into places where angles fear to tread and where sensible man should not go.
“Never has an elected government in Nigeria employed religion as a tool to divide the people, setting Nigerian brother against brother in a manner that allows this administration to function at the basest level of governance while seeking to establish a political domination that seeks no greater purpose than its self perpetuation. Our nation was supposed to advance, year by year, toward greater democracy. Instead, we rush into the pit of arbitrary, imperious rule that smacks of despotism.
“If we whitewash the reality of our existence by lying that all is well just because this is Independence Day, then we ignore the troubling signals at our collective peril. The incessant attempts to stigmatize and physically intimidate a peaceful political opposition and the militarization of elections are features of a perverse democracy, a democracy run at gun-point and with a swift and eager trigger, Brazen assaults on the judiciary, the flippant and frequent violation of the constitution and the rule of law, and the elevation of corruption to making it a new and perhaps the strongest arm of government are the instruments that now shape our nation. These things are not the fare of celebration. They are the impetus for political reform and change.
“54 years is enough to have built upon a solid foundation. If we had embraced a few lessons from India and other countries in similar situations like ours, we would be far advanced from where we presently are. It is sad enough that we have not built well upon the foundation set by our nation’s founders. Sadder still is that those who currently lead us have even weakened and corrupted that once-sound, hopeful foundation.
“Under the Jonathan government, the vaunted Transformation Agenda is but an elaborate name for old-fashion pocket stuffing. They do not have a national blueprint or vision. They do have a blueprint and vision for excessive self enrichment. Their equation is simple. You work, they feast. You toil, they grow fat. You seek a decent wage; they pilfer the collective treasury to enjoy a king’s ransom.
”Meanwhile, national planning has been haphazard and people unfriendly. For most of our 54 years and for all of the past fifteen, honest men have been given scant opportunity to lead Nigeria. We have wandered from the path of economic empowerment for our youth and the mass of our people. Nigeria has become adept at creating economic refugees, brain-drain migrants, decimated institutions and the building of a venal ”Wallet Economy” benefiting only a handful.
“As if this cynically induced poverty is not sufficient hardship, this government compounds the public burden by sowing discord with the alacrity that a wise government would plant charity and accord. Rather than promote religious tolerance and harmonious living, this Government believes its electoral chances are enhanced by promoting ethnicism, internal divisions, religious suspicion and scapegoating. Successful nations are not built this way. Have we not learned the lesson that we paid the high price of civil war to learn.
“We emerged from painful civil war with the singular objective of establishing an equitable, tolerant society. We sought to unite all into one people with a sense of one nation. We would turn our diversity into one of greatest assets. Decades later, it seems the memory of that period has faded. Political figures of dubious quality dabble with forces they may not truly comprehend and have no chance of ultimately controlling.
“This supposedly democratic government struts the stage, using our diversity to further divide us. An asset is turned into a wedge separating friend from friend, neighbour from neighbour. But I know that our diversity is a unique strength we can use to erase hunger, banish poverty, limit civil strife, build tolerance and enrich our civic education and awareness by learning so much from each other.
“While Nigeria’s current leaders failed to build upon the foundation provided them, there are some rays of hope. On this day, I commend the people of Lagos and other progressive states in the southwest and throughout Nigeria. You have tried your best to keep faith with the best practices and policies of those who founded this nation. Against strong odds and the strong arm of a reactionary federal government, you have improved the foundation then built upon it. If only what you have done could be replicated by the federal government.
”On the contrary, 16 years of PDP rule has been a period of diminishing return. The longer they rule, the less benefit the people derive. Nigeria now needs a ‘common sense revolution’, a revolution that calls forth a return to decency, probity, transparency of process and fairness in outcome. This is done not by subterfuge, divide and rule and turning Nigeria in a field of discord or a street of broken institutions. It is accomplished by honoring the principles of democratic good governance and economic justice. It is done by persuading the people they are better off as one instead of better off tearing at each other’s throats.
“Governance is about trust. And this government is not even trusted by itself. That is why it does nothing except feed itself. This is not the road for a better Nigeria. We must proceed from this 54th anniversary to embark on a common sense revolution that brings about progressive change for the benefit of most of our country men and women, our youth and the vulnerable among us.
“I speak here of a Common Sense revolution that promotes the well being and improve the lot of the average person, regardless of his or her ethnic, religious or regional affiliation. In this way, Nigeria will not only be unified in national purpose it will have recovered its better path. That will be an Independence Day we can and should celebrate. Until then, we strive to keep from falling further.
“We dare not remain lost forever. I am positive that help is on the way. Nigerians should be prepared for change. We must rescue Nigeria from those set to cause it irreparable harm. The change I talk about is the only route to our deliverance from 16 years of the PDP locusts. Nigeria is ours to keep and its democracy is ours to save, the statement read.