IF our founding fathers can look back to see how the country they fought for is faring, then they will be shocked that after 56 years, we are yet to get our bearing right. Our biggest problem is not being blessed with selfless and committed leaders who could think for the country’s future. Immediately after independence, we had so much hope. We felt Nigeria would lead the way for other black nations to follow.
We also had money, as well as the human resources to aid our quick progression from a developing country to a developed one; it was during this time that former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, said our problem was not money, but how to spend it. We were awash with oil money, and we had everything going on well for us.
A visionary leadership would have invested in the right infrastructure. I felt this was the period the country could have got its power problems right, and that would have aided our economic and industrial transformation.
Unfortunately, that was not to be, as we squandered our opportunities. Other countries that were trailing us decades ago like Malaysia, Indonesia, among others, are now far better than Nigeria.
It is difficult to trace where we have gone wrong; even when we blame military intervention in our politics, what have successive civilian administrations achieved since 1999?
As someone who experienced the good periods of the 1980s, I can’t but lament the situation the country has found itself now. Things are just going worse every day; our youths cannot find gainful employment after years studying for their degrees.
The roads are in terrible shape, while electricity, which should be the bedrock for our industrial development, has been in coma for several years. I must, however, commend the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for the achievements being made in the power sector.
With the way things are in the country, I believe our case is more of spiritual, and being a religious people, it is important we use this period of our independence celebration to pray for God to deliver us from regressive spirits.
If our case is normal, I keep wondering why those economic policies that worked in other countries of the world have failed in Nigeria; I keep wondering why our leaders are only after their selfish personal gains.
Is it not absurd that our political leaders who travel to developed countries of the world, cannot replicate what they see there back in their country?
However, as Nigeria is celebrating its 56th independence anniversary, I hope that things will change for the better with the commitment of our political leaders.
It is still too early to determine the direction this current government is heading, but from what I see, I believe President Buhari is serious about turning around the country for good; he, however, needs time.
- Dr Taju Alalade,