‘Nigerians in state of despair’
*Ohaneze, Afenifere chieftains lament situation in the country
Chieftains of two socio-cultural groups in Nigeria have described the country’s democracy as a mirage that is proving elusive to attain. The duo of Second Republic politician and chieftain of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Guy Ikokwu and Afenifere chief and National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) activist, Dr. Amos Akingba, lamented that the country is in a state of despair.
While speaking with The Guardian in a telephone interview, Ikokwu said there is nothing worth celebrating in the state of Nigeria’s democracy, as the citizens have nothing to show as dividends of democracy.
According to him, “There is total despair in the country because most people don’t know where we are going. There is no quality education and social welfare and so much insecurity everywhere.“They said we are out of recession, but that is not true, everything is technical, we are technically out of recession because there is still inflation in prices. People cannot build new houses, they cannot establish industries, and things have been bad. There is technically no more corruption, there is technically no more Boko Haram, and there is technically no more harassment by Fulani herdsmen. This is a country where not less than 50 people are killed everyday.”
He stated that the function of any government is to provide for the basic amenities that will make life worthwhile for the people adding that the government has failed in doing this.The politician maintained that the people are aggrieved and many would not be in celebration mood for the anniversary of democracy.
“It is the function of the government to provide for the welfare of the people, protect its people from violence and insecurity, save lives and property. Any government that is not able to guarantee these is a failure.
“This is a country where the minimum wage of the workers has not been reviewed for years. We all know that hardly any worker, not even a night guard, can live on N18,000 per month, it is not possible. A worker that does not have what it takes to pay for his accommodation and feed himself twice a day cannot be happy, he will be given to stealing and criminality. So a government that criminalises his citizens cannot say that he is doing the real work of a government and that is the truth of the matter.”
He maintained that the bad system of governance is responsible for the situation the country is facing adding, “Virtually most citizens are criminally minded because of the bad system of governance. When you go to other African countries, they call Nigeria big for nothing. When you say you are a Nigerian they laugh at us that a country that have all the mineral resources in the world, a country that has vast arable land to grow all manner of things, still smuggle things into the country. It is a big shame and I don’t see how we can laugh about it. We have to face the truth tactically.”
According to Akingba who also spoke in a telephone interview, “the current democracy in Nigeria is a fake one. It is so unfortunate because this is not what we envisaged. It all started with General Aguiyi-Ironsi and then the Fulani took over and we have been in this mess since 1999.
“Mediocrity, injustice, stealing, corruption, kidnapping, murder and rape are bedeviling the country. Nigeria had become extremely toxic; it is very poisonous for all and sundry.“The entire system has messed the younger ones up more than their elders who have seen better periods in our checkered history. I have seen some good times myself but I am also part of the people that is seriously messed up when I reflect on the successes of my contemporaries in other climes.”
He stated that the best thing to do in the country is to struggle to get the system changed, adding, “The youth must join willing elders to mobilise and tell the politicians that enough is enough of their inanities.”
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