Nigeria at 52: Akinjide, Lar, Obahiagbon, others speak •Jonathan declares one year prayer project

IT was
galore from
leaders for the
Nigerian nation
as it attains 52
years of
today, even as
Chief Richard
Akinjide, a
Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said that the country is moving forward.
Speaking with Nigerian Tribune on Sunday, Akinjide, who was the Attorney
General and Minister of Justice during the Second Republic, while praying that
things should get better as the country moved on, however, said that
Nigerians deserved better and improved infrastructural development.
“As we celebrate the 52nd year of our independence, the Nigerian citizens
need better roads; we need better water supply, better rail system and better
power stations. Our leadership has started very well and the sky is not the
limit for them,” Akinjide said.
However, a Second Republic governor of Oyo State, Dr Omololu Olunloyo, said
he was angry with the Nigerian state, declaring that “the nation is now in a
state of tragedy” because, according to him, the country and its people were
not where they were supposed to be, 52 years after independence.
Declaring that virtually everything was wrong with the country, Olunloyo said,
“Our vehicle is moving backward and it may be so for the next 1,000 years.
Our economy is in ruins; many people with questionable background are now
getting everything in Nigeria.
“The country is now a state of joke; people are not serious at any level. I have
been in government, on and off, since 50 years ago. Now at age 77, I am sorry
for myself; I don’t have landed property in Lagos, Abuja or abroad.
“The nation is in a state of tragedy. Governance is at low ebb; there are a lot
of natural disasters like flood; there are also man-made disasters like
misgovernance at every level, with just some few exceptions,” he said.
The former governor old Oyo State also took a swipe at the ruling Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP), blaming it for the spate of insecurity in the country,
particularly the Boko Haram insurgency in several parts of the North.
“The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), of which I am a member, at the
national level made some costly mistakes in the last two years as regards the
economy and security.
“The former National Security Adviser (NSA), General Owoye Azazi, once
blamed the PDP for the state of insecurity and he was right. We made a
serious collective error by messing up the zoning system.
“We allowed sentiments, based on perennial punishment and despoilation of
the Niger Delta environment to shift the presidency to the South-South whilst
the North-West had not even finished the first term to which they are entitled.
“Is there any link between this occurrence and the mysaterious Boko Haram
onslaught? I don’t want to sound simplistic because Boko Haram seems to be
confined to the North, to the Christian churches and the so-called Western
education by the talibans.
“We just have to be careful of 2015. The power shift system, which has six
zones and did not state anywhere officially whose turn it is, is a mischievous
arrangement,” he said.
For the pioneer PDP national chairman, Chief Solomon Lar, Nigeria has
achieved quite a lot since independence, but added that corruption has been
the major challenges facing the country, as well as retarding its growth.
Lar, who was the first civilian governor of Plateau State, said that both the
government and the people should be more determined to fight the monster.
“Nigeria has achieved a lot in the area of education, health, international
relations and many other spheres of life. But the major challenge facing the
country today is corruption, which has eaten deep into every aspect of our
“To bring back the glory of Nigeria, every Nigerian needs to say no to
corruption and show commitment to Nigeria. If we can do this, Nigeria will
become a better place and as well regain its lost glory,” he said.
In his comment, Professor Adeola Adenikinju of the University of Ibadan
observed that there had not been fairness in the Nigerian tax system since
According to the professor of economics, over the years, Nigerian leaders had
formulated indices and parameters on which revenues collected through the
federation accounts were shared, but with dissenting voices in respect of the
sharing formula.
Former chairman, Committee on Information, House of Representatives,
Honourable Dino Melaye, said “there is nothing to celebrate as the
independence has lost its value.
“The Nigerian nation is sick, considering the present woes bedeviling us as a
country. We are already stagnated, we are neither moving forward nor
backward and it is a shame.”
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan, on Sunday, flagged off the one year
prayer project, observing that prayer had helped the Americans to determine
the direction of their country and could achieve same for the country.
He also declared that he alone could not solve the myriad of problems facing
the country, noting that it would require the efforts and supports of all
Nigerians to overcome the challenges.
Speaking at the 52nd Independence anniversary interdenominational church
service at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, the president said Nigeria
would succeed.
“Leadership at all levels is collective; one person cannot change a nation.
Agreed the leader matters, but he cannot change things alone. All of us must
work together to rebuild our nation. Our men and women will change things in
this country.
“There are so many Nehemiahs in the National Assembly, the Federal
Executive Council, our judiciary, our teachers, businessmen and women and I
believe God will use these Nehemiahs to rebuild the country. I can say again
that Nigeria will succeed. With your cooperation, we shall succeed,” he said.
In his reaction, Honour-able Patrick Obahiagbon, said “as we celebrate our flag
and shambolic autarky at 52, we must realise that Nigeria is still more of a
geographic contrivance as has been rightly posited by Chief Obafemi
Awolowo. Not with our centrifugal excrescences preponderating over our
centripetal proclivities.
“It’s a matter for mental pabulum that we are daily drifting into our ethnic
cocoons. We still remain one country with disparate ethnic agendas and I can
say it for the umpteenth time again that we must sit down in a sovereign
national colloquy to discuss the basis for our nationhood. Anything short of
this is just vacuous scahiamachy.”
Mike Ahamba, in his comment, said “Nigerians should not be discouraged with
the events of the present days. Every great nation had passed through
tribulation and they emerged stronger, the same thing will go for Nigeria.
This is a phase we are passing through and we shall emerge stronger and
better. We should all have faith in Nigeria

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