Utomi, Mailafia, others decry state of Nigeria, calls for urgent action
Some of Nigeria’s thought leaders on Friday decried current state of the country across sectors, declaring that nothing is working in Nigeria.
The leaders, such as foremost Economist, Professor Pat Utomi, former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and 2019 Presidential Candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dr. Malaifia Obadiah, Member of the 5th Senate, Senator Henshaw Bassey, 2nd Republic Presidential Assistant, Tokunbo Sholu-Ekukinam, stated that the current system of the country is unfair; killing the younger generation and their talents, stressing that all indices show that Nigeria is now a failing state.
They spoke at the 2nd Goke Omisore Annual Lecture organized by a Yoruba Intelligentsia Group, Voice of Reason (VOR) in honour of its late Convener, Prince Goke Omisore, themed: “Creating an Inter-generational Dialogue for the Nigeria we Want”.
The panellists and guests included lawyers and activists, Dele Farotimi and Inibehe Effiong, Social Crusader and Executive Director of Enough Is Enough Nigeria (EiE), Yemi Adamolekun, Nigerian Representative to the All African Students Union (AASU), Icon Olawale and Niger/Delta Activist.
Annkio Briggs, among others, unanimously opined that impunity, lawlessness, anarchy and subjugation of the younger generation currently reigns supreme in Nigeria, suggesting that if the political, economic and social structures of the country are not restructured in line with the current realities in the country, Nigeria as a sovereign country should be terminated peacefully because if not ended now, there’s a higher tendency that the country would terminate herself and if that happens, it would lead to a gargantuan disaster.
Challenging the younger generation to take over the country themselves from the older generation whom they accused of failing to show direction, honour, meritorious service and sincerity of purpose to the younger generation in their modus of operations and actions regarding governance, the speakers, including the Secretary-General of the Lower Nigeria Congress (LNC), Mr. Tony Nnadi, argued that what is currently going on in Nigeria is worse than the Banana Republic as the country has failed to have an identity.
Obadiah said the statement credited to some Northern Governors that not all Boko Haram are criminals is an oxymoron of the century.
He stated that “Nigerian constitution guarantees self defence to anyone who faces treat to his or her life, therefore, it is your right as a Nigerian to defend yourself and your community whenever you are faced by a treat to live.
“Let me say very expressly that Amotekun and Eastern Security Network (ESN) are legal; they are doing what they are supposed to do in line with Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
“Nigeria is a country of greatness but we are being strangulated by leadership misrule. Nigerian music trends in all over the Western Europe, Nigerians are talented, Nigerian leaders are the one bringing shame on our youths. A Nigerian won the second best price in computer science in the world some months ago but armed robbers killed him last week in Lagos. Nigeria is a danger-killing talents,” he said.
A 2nd Republic Presidential Assistant on Legal Matters, Mrs Tokunbo Sholu-Ekukinam said no one is safe in Nigeria at the moment because insecurity now booms like wave of the ocean.
She opined that the first right of citizens is the right to life and dignity which does not exist in Nigeria anymore.
A lawyer and former Students Union President of Lagos State University (LASU), Mr. Dele Farotimi, who spoke on behalf of the golden jubilee generation, said Nigerian leaders have turned the younger generation to chattered slaves who police can shoot at any time; who’s live can be taken away anytime by the agents of the state and who have no access to amenities, dignity and liberty.
“The younger generation converged at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20th 2020, thinking Nigerian flag means something meaningful. If you missed what happened on October 20 2020, what happened last Saturday 13th February 2021 at Lekki Toll Gate was an aberration – battalion of soldiers and ammunitions were posted to Lekki toll gate to quench a peaceful protest guaranteed by the constitution. An end must come to this assault.” he posited.
Adamolekun, said “the clampdown against the youth last Saturday was massive. It is an indication that the youth means nothing to the older generation.
“I see what is happening as a class struggle. The older generation kept quiet last weekend when the younger generation were being attacked by those being paid to protect them.”
Adamolekun challenged the Director-General of the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), Mr. Seye Olaleye, who was present at the event, to ensure that the South West Regional Security Outfit, Operation Amotekun, is deployed to all the local govt areas in the Yoruba land to secure and protect lives.
She advised South West Governors that though the Nigerian constitution guarantees all citizens to move from one place to another, no law stops them from enacting a law to mandate all visitors in their states to register.
Pat Utomi said he agreed with other speakers on the state of the nation. He, however, suggested that the younger generation needs to be mentored by radical elders like Farotimi to be able to challenge the status quo.
In his brief presentation, Utomi said “I agree with all the speakers. I just want to add that the younger ones need to be mentored to be able to challenge the status quo. The rich class are united against the common people, therefore, the younger generation should be united to wage war against the status quo.”
Buttressing Utomi’s statement, Senator Bassey Henshaw said impunity, corruption, lack of free hearing, etc currently characterizes the face of Nigerian polity.
He appealed to his generation to train the youth for the future to take over, stating that it is the proper thing to do if not, the country will soon explode and the explosion may consume everyone.
Annkio Briggs said her generation has failed to give what the youth of Nigeria want, therefore, it is unfair to be calling on them to fix and salvage the country.
“In her words, the fiery speaker said “we didn’t give the youth what they want, now we want them to fix the mess we created. I have children aged 27 to 44 but Nigeria has been unkind to them. My position is that we need a new Nigeria. Nigeria as at today cannot give you a citizenship because Nigeria does not exist.
Icon Olawale Kadri and Inbehe Effiong spoke in unison, declaring that in their late 20s and 30s, Nigeria has done nothing memorable and meaningful for them.
They opined that Nigeria is better ended now peacefully because all indices show that the country would end one day and if allowed to end herself forcefully, it would cause a gargantuan disaster that may spell doom for the people.
Effiong, a lawyer and National Legal Adviser of African Action Congress (AAC), said very expressly that he belongs to a generation of Nigeria that is deprived of all rights without an exception.
In his words, “Nigeria has not done anything for me”, Effiong dropped the bombshell, continuing that “the youths are the leaders of today; yesterday belong to our fathers and tomorrow belong to our children.
“At 32, i should not be seen begging, i should be seen leading and doing wonders for my generation. Sadly, when opportunities are to be given to youths, the ruling elites give such opportunities to the worst among the youths. The old people are committed towards ruining the chances and integrity of the younger generation.
“I come from a state where the governor spends #5bn on his aircraft maintenance per year so Impunity is not limited to the central government; the ruling class are one. Unfortunately, the ruling clan are now using religion and ethnicity to polarise our people.
“Now i say, where are the elders of conscience? Why are we missing in action? The youths feel the elders are not speaking in their favour. We must find a way to salvage
“The youths have given the Nigerian state a notice. One day, those in comfort zone will live to regret. The youth will take their destiny into their hands. We shall take back over our country soon”, Effiong, said.
Kadri said over 60% of the population of Nigerian youths are jobless and have nothing to do. He said Nigerian lecturers have gone on strike 15 times equivalent of 50 months from 1999 to 2020 to the detriment of the younger generation of middle and lower cadres.
He said “The country Nigeria has been unfair to the younger generation and we are not idle. My generation has not witnessed anything normal in Nigeria. All indices shows Nigerian is becoming a failing state if not failed already.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of VOR, Dr. Olufemi Adegoke, said 19th February of every year has been reserved to celebrate the Convener of the group, late Goke Omisore being his posthumous birthday.
He said Nigeria today is being run like a state of nature and this is a source of concern to the leadership of the VOR, just like Omisore when he was alive.
“Today is the 19th of February, it is a day specially reserved in the VOR calendar. Our late Convener, Prince Goke Omisore would have been 72 years old today. Unfortunately, he left us in October 2018, a few months short of his 70th birthday. We prefer to remember and celebrate him on his birthday, rather than the sad day he left us.
“In his lifetime, Arole, as he was fondly called, enjoyed gathering his friends together to celebrate his birthday. In his honour, we schedule one major event for this day when we invite members of the public to exchange ideas. God sparing our lives and hoping Nigeria is still in one piece; please note it in your diary to expect our invitation next year.
Adegoke noted that very early in the formation of the organization, members had concluded that with the 1999 constitution, the development would be stunted and corruption would fester and the country would continue to suffer and retrogress as a people, hence, VOR made RESTRUCTURING the focus of its activities.
Other guests at the event, attended by many participants, were Chairman of the Nigerian Tribune Titles, Chief Mrs Tokunbo Awolowo – Dosunmu, former Foreign Affairs Minister, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, Dr. Seyi Roberts, former Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Arc. Lanre Towry-Cowker, widow of late Goke Omisore, Olamide, Mr. Emeka Ugwu-Oju, Dr. Akin Fapohunda, amongst others.
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