Nigeria: Do we really have to celebrate at 63? –By Nwanguma

Nigeria: Do we really have to celebrate at 63? -By Nwanguma
By Okechukwu Nwanguma
October 1, 2023 marks 63 years of Nigeria’s independence from British colonial rule.
63 years after Nigeria’s independence  and 24 years after the country returned to elective government after nearly 17 unbroken years of military interruption of democratic experiment, what do we have to celebrate as a country?
For me, there is really nothing that one wants to be happy about in Nigeria, except, perhaps for those who are still precariously alive, having survived the debilitating times.
All we have is a failed country.  A richly endowed but corruptly mismanaged country.
A collapsed economy with a constantly devaluing and almost worthless currency in relation to the US dollar; unchecked corruption, unabated insecurity that continues to reduce the worth of human dignity and life and constantly destroying life, property and livelihoods; mass impoverishment and misery; official ineptitude in addressing insecurity and tackling corruption, instead, official complicity in promoting corruption and insecurity;  collapse of infrastructure, failed promises to deliver free, fair, peaceful and credible elections; impunity for human rights violations, and denial of justice; state capture by a cabal of unpatriotic, corrupt, incompetent, visionless and self-serving political class with criminal records; subversion of the democratic principle of separation of powers among different arms of government; promoting nepotism in governance; mass despondency and loss of faith in the country resulting to mass exodus of  Nigerians to foreign countries including less endowed but comparatively better run Africa countries.
Terrorists and bandits continue to hold sway across the country without much challenge from security agencies.
Neglect of security agencies that renders them vulnerable to attacks and killing by better armed bandits.
Insecurity has halted farming, production, living and livelihoods, and retarded development.
Government’s shameful inability to guarantee uninterrupted electricity has killed businesses, impeded production, discouraged investments and forced local and foreign investments to close shop and leave the country. It has also disrupted and denied children access to education.
Educational and healthcare institutions are dysfunctional and incapable of solving the manpower development and healthcare needs of Nigerians.
Consequently, Nigerians die untimely of poverty and from preventable diseases. Government is completely distant and absent from the people.
While workers salaries are grossly inadequate and further diminished in value by daily skyrocketing increase in the cost of living, government is not providing palliatives to cushion the effects of policies that deepen poverty and misery.
Yet, government officials continue to unconscionably benefit from undue and unmerited earnings and frivolous multiple allowances.
There’s a high level of oppression, exploitation and deprivation of the masses, with citizens exploited and dispossessed of their meager income in different guises, yet are denied basic infrastructure and social amenities and services.
To illustrate, whereas, in some parts of the country, vehicle users are subjected to road worthiness tests, punishment and exploitation, yet, the roads are not maintained and kept safe and worthy of use.
Law enforcement agencies are deployed as tools of oppression and injustice rather than as agencies to maintain law and order, provide safety and security, guard and protect human rights and uphold the rule of law.
They serve and protect the ruling powers and people of influence,  and prey upon the helpless poor masses.
The man ‘elected’ as the President of Nigeria following the recent largely flawed and widely disputed election continues to grapple with legitimacy crisis on account of the dubious conduct and outcome of the election, as well as questions surrounding his true identity- questions about the records of his birth, paternity, age  educational qualifications and indeed, nearly every aspect of his life.
This fact alone, summarizes the tragedy of the state of the country and its reputation and rating in the eyes of the world.
What, then, do we really have to celebrate at 63?

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