- Femi Okunnu says the picture of Nigeria remains grim even though the country is 58 years old
- Okunnu maintains that the civil war and the military rule that took years are no longer the country's problems
- He says we do not have leaders who are passionate about the country
An elder statesman, Femi Okunnu, has painted a grim picture of Nigeria as the country celebrates 58 years of attaining independence.
Okunnu said at this stage, it was wrong to blame the military or civil war for the country’s predicaments.
The respected elder wondered what had changed since 1999 when the country returned to democracy saying the situation is now worse than it used to be.
“Not the military. The military has left governance in the past, almost 20 years, 19 years now. What has changed between 1999 and 2018? Nothing, if anything, it is worse. So, it is not the military. It is not the coups we had, bad as they were.
“The state of affairs today, coming from the year of independence in 1960 is very, very grim. I cannot find a better word for it.
"Very grim because as a young man in 1960, and as a young political activist in 1960, after my political activities as a general secretary and president of the Nigerian Union of Great Britain and Ireland,” Okunnu said in an interview with Vanguard.
Okunnu continued: “The hope which we had about Nigeria was a country free and strong; free, yes we were free; strong, we were not strong, economically, morally, mention it.
“Our picture of Nigeria, our hope for Nigeria that time was a country very strong economically, the leader of Africa in world affairs and a leading economic power in the world. Nigeria is neither today. It is not in either of the two positions, any position of leadership today. It is very far from it.”
He said Nigeria lacked the right leadership with patriotism.
“We don’t have patriots at the helm of our affairs. We don’t have those who are Nigerian patriots. We lack that sort of leadership.
“There are good ones among them but very few. We don’t have people who are patriotic enough, who have the love of the country and who have a mission to create a strong, economically strong country to lead this nation.
“We need a country or leadership which will have the feel of the people of this country, a leader who will understand the people of this country, who will understand what the people want for their daily life and to provide what the people want. We don’t have them.
“We have people interested in how much they can steal from the public pockets or exchequer. They are more interested in how much money they can rake out, legitimately and illegitimately.
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“That’s our biggest problem. What went wrong? Well, where do we start? True enough, we have a coup, a military coup but that was not really the beginning of our trouble or the main cause of the present travail Nigeria is experiencing today,” he said.
Legit.ng earlier reported that the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Sunday, September 30, prayed for Nigeria and called for God’s blessings for the nation and its citizens.
Osinbajo made these supplications at an Interdenominational Church Service held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja as part of activities marking Nigeria’s 58th Independence celebration.
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