Nigeria @ 59: A Nation Suffering From Kwashiorkor
By Franklyn Isong
October 1, 1960 Nigeria got her independence from the British colonial master. Yesterday, October 1, 2019, Nigerians came out to celebrate the 59th independence of our nationhood.
For the purpose of this discourse, let me reproduce an abridged history of our journey as a nation so far.
In 1851, the British forces seized Lagos, which was later annexed officially in 1861. In 1901, Nigeria was made a British protectorate and was colonized. In January 1914, the Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria were amalgamated by British Colonial Governor Fredrick Lugard.
In October 1, 1960, the country gained her independence.
In 1963, it got her first Republic but lost it to a military rule in 1966 as a result of a coup d’état. In 1967, the Republic of Biafra was formed which led to the three-year Nigerian Civil War.
In 1979 it got her second Republic after a new constitution was drafted. The Republic was short-lived in 1983 by another military rule led by Major General Muhammadu Buhari who was in August 27, 1985, overthrown by General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.
In August 26, 1993, came the third Republic but was dissolved in November the same year by General Sani Abacha who passed on in 1998, leading to the emergence of the fourth Republic in May 29, 1999 to date.
We have had three successive democratic administrations from 1999 to 2019 to wit; Olusegun Obasanjo (1999 to 2007), Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (May 29, 2007 to May 5, 2010), Goodluck Jonathan (2010 to 2015), and Muhammadu Buhari (May 29, 2015 to date).
My take is that none of Nigerian’s leaders who had and have governed this country, military and civilian, have been able to address the challenges facing the Nation.
I found them guilty of being only interested in their self-aggrandizement, bereft of mental wherewithal to understand the nation’s challenges and lacking the requisite will power to tackle the many ills bedevilling Nigeria.
Our country’s ailment is self-inflicted kwashiorkor in spite of the enormous resources and natural endowment in the Nigerian state.
For instance, Nigerians are still faced with abject poverty, epileptic power supply, insecurity, political prisoners, disobedience to court orders, abuse of human rights, disrespect to rule of law, high unemployment rate, corruption, poor education system, lack of clear economic policy, and abandonment of agriculture and other sectors of our economy, but only focusing on crude produced from the deprived, oppressed and marginalised south south zone of Niger Delta region.
Moving forward, until we have leaders who are determined to offer good leadership and address our challenges, as it were, Nigeria will continue to suffer from kwashiorkor resulting from malnourishment and malnutrition.
Happy 59th Independence Anniversary!
•Franklyn Isong is a public affairs commentator and conscience of the society.