Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday described Nigeria’s 59 years of independence as a period of wasted dreams, bungled opportunities and deferred hopes.
He said several years of bad governance, endemic corruption, and mismanagement of the nation’s resources have ruined its economy and buffeted it with huge foreign and local debts.
The governor stated this while addressing Rivers people during the 59th independence anniversary at the Sharks Stadium in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Wike said much as the Federal Government may pretend, it was evident that things were spiraling out of control in the country, stressing that Nigerians were disunited, amid mutual mistrust, intolerance, hatred, while violence had continued to corrode the fragile walls that bound the nation.
He argued that no one could truly see a way forward due to failed policies and lack of vision at the Federal level, noting that from all accounts, it has been 59 years of significant strides in some respects, but laced with woeful failure in some others.
Nevertheless, he said Nigerians have reasons to celebrate every October 1 because they would be a free and sovereign nation forever, adding that national unity, social cohesion, good governance and improved standards of living motivated Nigerians to seek independence.
According to him, although the country’s economic situation may be bad, nation-building remains a work in progress in the efforts to move the country forward to its desired destination.
Wike said the day offered the country another opportunity to keep hope alive by standing with each other, united by a common desire to build a better, resourceful and politically vibrant, fair and peaceful Nigeria with great economic opportunities, security and improved wellbeing for all Nigerians.
“Therefore, the nation should embrace a political and economic system that recognises the sovereignty of the component units over their natural resources and a credible electoral system capable of producing the right leadership culture,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Free United Nations Human Rights Education and Advocacy Training Project– Nigeria, a United Nations (UN) agency, headed by Dr. Ugochumar Peereez Ibekanma has charged Nigerians to conquer bad leadership, political impunity, poverty and under-development through inventive leadership.
Ibeakanma who is the agency’s country Executive Project Director his independence message lamented that unless popular solutions to sustaining problems were tackled from their roots, all efforts at reducing poverty, providing good governance and ending insecurity would amount to nothing.
According to him, the old order could only be changed through building a new model that makes excising model obsolete, even as he lamented that Nigeria’s founding fathers would be shedding tears, if they realise that what they toiled and laboured for has been jettisoned overboard by a privileged few, who lack inventive leadership, while the followership remain docile and naïve.
“We cannot change Nigeria’s political reality by fighting it. We cannot change the oppressive nature of coercive government by voting for more favourable politicians.
“We cannot bring about individual freedom by convincing everyone to want it. We cannot bring about the kind of society we want by trying to tear down parts of the old ones that we do not like,” he stated.