Nigeria is a failure at 57 – Ango Abdullahi
- Abdullahi says Nigeria is far behind in achievements even 57 years after independence
- The professor also said the problem started with late ex-military leader Murtala Muhammad
- Abdullahi also revealed that President Buhari will not get an automatic ticket as APC's presidential candidate in 2019
Spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) Ango Abdullahi has described Nigeria as a failure as the country clocks 57 years of independence on October 1.
Abdullahi told Daily Sun in an interview that when compared to other countries that gain independence around the same period, the nation is a failure.
He said: “If I was a teacher marking Nigeria from 1960, or a teacher marking Nigeria’s script as one of my students of over these 57 years, I will grade her a failure.
“As you said, we will be 57 years and the question is, have all those aspirations been achieved? The honest answer is no.
“When you look at it from the point of view of the opportunities available, the resources available, the chances available, both internal and external and you sum all these up, including the human capital, I will say that Nigeria failed to achieved the goals and aspirations it set for itself and for its people.
“There are benchmarks with which one can base this conclusion. There are quite a number of countries we virtually achieved independence either together or almost at the same time.
“Some of the references used in gauging our development indices are India, in 1948 and Malaysia. Malaysia has really moved faster in their development endeavours. Unfortunately, despite all the endowments, Nigeria has failed to achieve the goals expected of it since independence."
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Abdullahi blamed ex-military ruler Murtala Muhammed “messed up the civil service, which has always been the stabilising factor in any country’s development programme.
“From 1960 until 1974, Nigeria was doing well in the area of development. I happened to have served as Commissioner of Economic Planning under the military government from 1973 to 1975. As from that period, things began getting worse, particularly, during Gen. Murtala Mohammed.
“Although Murtala appeared to be a nationalist and Pan-Africanist, regrettably, he messed up the civil service, which has always been the stabilising factor in any country’s development programme.
“Politicians come and go, but civil servants remain until retirement. Murtala abused civil service rules. Now a civil servant has to be a liar, or sycophant to keep his job. This is where Nigeria began to run into serious difficulties in governance.”
On President Muhammadu Buhari, the professor said he won’t get an automatic ticket to represent the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019.
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He said: “The fact that Buhari is incumbent does not automatically confer on him the candidature of the party in the next election if there is internal democracy in the party.
“The fact that you are a sitting president does not mean other members of the party cannot contest against you. If I were Buhari, I will welcome competition in my party.
“This is an opening for democracy in my party and I will ask people to come and test their popularity. If he has done well, people will re-elect him.”
Legit.ng had reported recently that Aisha Jummai Alhassan, minister of Women Affairs, who recently declared her support for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to run for president in 2019, disclosed to Reuters that President Buhari told members of his party that he would not seek re-election in 2019.
The minister's declaration of support for the former vice-president has continued to generate heated discussions among Nigerians.
“In 2014/2015 he said he was going to run for only one time to clean up the mess that the (previous) PDP government did in Nigeria. And I took him for his word that he is not contesting in 2019,” Minister of Women Affairs Alhassan told Reuters.
Watch this Legit.ng TV video of Nigerians sharing their opinion on whether Nigeria should remain one or split up