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59 Years of Independence: Our Failings

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ElevateNews takes a look at the failings of Nigeria as a nation, 59 years after independence.

Twentynine of the 59 years of the independence of Nigeria was ruled by military dictators, which invariably became the biggest failing of the most populous African nation.

The military coup of 1966 became the clog in the wheel of a democracy that was based on regionalism.

The three regions, which included the North, West and East were developing at a competitive rate, using their agricultural and human resources to generate the internal revenue needed for the provision of the basic social facilities.

The cotton pyramid in the north, cocoa in the West and palm oil in the East. The regions built great educational institutions, hospitals, rail and road infrastructures to ease business operation.

Regionalism was a system that worked for Nigeria because the best of the country’s economic performance and development happened between 1953 and 1966 under this system.

However, the incursion of the military and the abolition of regionalism disrupted the sharing formula among the Center, the States and the local government tiers.

A whole of 52 per cent of generated revenue was ceded to the centre leaving 48 per cent for the States and Local governments.

Till date, the 36 States and over 700 Local government areas of the country share 48 per cent while the centre takes 52 per cent.

Another failing is the quota system that became a factor instead of competence on who qualifies to occupy sensitive public positions.

Politics and political parties have been permeated by ethnicity and religiosity rather than principles and ideals.

The agriculture resources that grew the country’s economy were abandoned for the newfound crude oil. Under the military regimes, Nigeria ran virtually a monoeconomy, depending on oil as the major source of income.

Laws were arbitrarily abused by the ruling class; corruption grew in high places. The Nigeria civil service that was built by the colonial imperialist on the good values and culture of our forefathers was destroyed by the soldiers.

The military exposed the civilian to high level of corruption. They looted the public treasury, diverted funds meant for human capacity development to their private accounts.

Nigeria began to crash gradually under the military but the irony of it was that many Nigerians usually jubilated each time there was a coup and change of government.

Our failings are numerous. The military has coerced the citizens to a level that even under the civil rule Nigerians are always afraid to ask for their rights.

Of course, Nigeria is independent, Nigerians are more docile than when the country was under colonial rule.

Our forefathers sought freedom from the British and got it but Nigerians of thi generation are contented.

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