Nigeria at 56: Celebrities speak on the journey so far

In commemoration of Nigeria’s 56th anniversary today, October 1st, Nigerian celebrities have voiced out on the situation of things in the country. While some remained optimistic, some   opined that Nigeria is on a steady road to nowhere. JOAN OMIONAWELE speaks to some  of them on Nigeria at 56.  Their views:


Olu Jacobs: Our leaders are talking to us as if we are school children
I think it will be most unfair to say the government is folding its arms and doing nothing while the country is burning. Here is a country that was almost run to the ground. The change was real. Have you ever seen Nigeria so united? That was a cry for help from Nigerians. Let our leaders lead us and lead us right.  They need to know the extent to which the damage had been done. The country is in a mess and unfortunately, the Americans and the Europeans have helped us to mess it up a bit more. Have you ever seen anything like what happened to our currency? The value of our money has dropped, now we are struggling to survive because the value of our money is low, we cannot buy as confidently as we used to and it’s going to take us a while to fight back.

The only thing I can blame the government for is that I don’t think they are publicising their achievements. They are not telling us enough about what they have done. They are talking to us as if they are talking to civil servants. When they wanted our votes, they came to us and now they need to go round on television and radio and tell us the situation of things and the problems they are having, they just talk to us as if we are school children. We are all groaning in pain, and we need to know why we are suffering so much and they are not telling us as clearly as they should. This, they must do.

Mercy Johnson: Government needs to do more
Nigeria has come a long way. We are not where we are supposed to be but we are not where we used to be. Government needs to do more. We cannot elect people in positions of leadership and they are not stepping into it. However, we must all bear in mind that Nigeria is a collective project.

Fathia Balogun: Things are really hard
The economy right now, to be frank, is in a deplorable level. Things are really hard. As a result of this, crime rate is relatively high. Something needs to be done. We are in dire need of resurgence. Through these trying times, I beseech every Nigerian to be united. We need unity to overcome. We also need one another to make this nation great again.

Emeka Ike: The country is not stable
The country is not in a stable condition, it’s like a pendulum, we moved forward a bit during former president Goodluck Jonathan’s administration but corruption dragged us backward. Then, this administration came with a promise to look at the corruption factor. If what they said has integrity and sincerity, it might be difficult for us at the moment, but we have a future, because integrity is the bottom-line and sincerity is the platform for development. So, if we can structure properly, I think Nigeria will head forward.

Pete Edochie: Nothing is working in the country now
To tell you the truth, I don’t know. I don’t see a future, I mean, I don’t even know. Nothing is working in the country now, a lot of people are jobless and crime is on the increase, I don’t see anything I can call a future.

We are all depending on oil, we have militants who expect their share of all these now that the country is going down economically. I heard that there are some assets that they want to sell and it is meeting the resistance of very meaning Nigerians and I read in the papers that there is a lot of discord in the APC camp, I had always known that it is a conglomera tion of strange bird fellows.

I knew that such a thing was going to happen but I didn’t know that it was going to be so soon. Look at the National Assembly, Saraki and Ekweremadu are in Court…. One cannot  really say that a government is going on. If you cannot agree that one out of the three arms of government is calm and we can work from there, what kind of future are we expecting for our children then?

I saw the war and it is my prayer that my children don’t see another war. See Fulani People moving around and their killing people and destroying their farms and the government is not saying anything……honestly, I don’t know.

Femi Kuti: Nigeria is a country where leaders give excuses for their failure
Nigeria is a country where leaders give excuses for themselves. After 50 years, No electricity, no equal education, no good healthcare service, some people are planning to sell our assets. Yet they give excuses for their failure. Education is only for the rich in this country, and after 50 years, when the president is sick he doesn’t trust the Nigerian doctors, so he has to be flown abroad, and the budget is there to take our hard earned money for themselves. If they were not leaders, what will they do?

All this is just for them to have a good time and enjoy themselves with our money.

Victor Olaotan: We are getting somewhere as a country
Well, I think we are going somewhere as a country, we might not know exactly where. We are now leaving the reality of what we are worth. But I believe that with time, we will get results.

Rose Odika: We need to know what they are doing with the retrieved money
We thank God for where we are, at least we are not stagnant, I just believe that if some of the policies are reviewed, the Buhari Government will serve us well. The Single Treasury Account is not really helping matters. It is taking money out of the system, Also, they should tell us what they are doing with the money that they have retrieved from corrupt politicians, this money should not be stuck. It should be plough into the economy. We are moving, although slowly, but we are not stagnant.