Nigeria is 61 years old. Many waters have passed through the bridge since independence in 1960. There have been ups and downs, expansions and contractions rolled into one, all in a bid to build the so-called the Giant –of Africa!!
But what are the expectations or views of Nigerians from their leaders as Nigeria clocks 61 years?
Please find below the views of the high and low citizens of this country on their expectations from those at the helms of affairs as ‘The Interviews Nigeria’ goes out to the streets to feel their pulse;
- Barrister Onifade Bukola has this to say:
A lot of things are expected from this government. The first is the issue of security. There is no security in the country, Nigeria. Nowhere is safe now. People cannot move freely. For example, as a lawyer, if I have a case to argue in Akure Ondo State, I used to go very early in the morning to be able to meet the court in session before 9. am. But now, it is no longer possible. I must go a day before the case and lodge in a hotel because the road is not safe. This is additional expenses on me and my business, all because of the fear of being kidnapped. The government needs to make the country secure.
Also, the government has to be obeying the rule of law. Any country that has total disrespect for the rule of law is heading for confusion and disaster. It is expected that the government always obeys the rule of law. People are suffering. To eat one meal per day is a herculean task for some people. It’s all that bad, For instance, a colleague of mine got married recently. There at the reception, I saw some people packing the remnants at the ceremony for their families, taking them home as dinner. What of the issue of unemployment? This is too alarming. School leavers are jobless and could not get jobs for a number of years roaming around cities and towns. This is one of the contributors to kidnapping and armed robbery – because an idle hand is the devil’s workshop. I am appealing to the Nigerian government to give us a better Nigeria where an average citizen will be adequately taken care of. Let there be vocational centres in the 36 states of the country including the Federal capital Abuja where schools graduates and non-graduates will be trained and empowered to start one business or the other. I mean sustainable vocational centres.
2. Lolade Anjorin- A university graduate of Bio-chemistry:
The government alone is not to blame for our woes in this country. All of us share the blame for the directionlessness of this country. We should all decide to do right. We are not sincere as individuals. What is wrong with us as a people? What works somewhere else refuses to work for us in Nigeria. We blame the government most of the time but it is no wood or stones that are in government. It is the people that work with the government. A man gets to power and becomes bad all of a sudden! Within a few years, he had all the wealth he could have for the rest of his life. Corruption everywhere. I just wish we should change our mindset. Money is good. Everybody needs money to survive in life; to pay his or her bills and affect the lives of others around. But the acquisition of money at the detriment of the poor masses is bad.
Having said this, I want the government also to be sincere with its citizens. Give us good hospitals adequately equipped. Encourage our doctors by paying them well and not treating them as nobody. The focus is too much on the politicians. Insecurity in the country is alarming. Life in Nigeria is no longer safe. We are at the mercy of God. Thank God they are planning to declare the bandits terrorist. This is long overdue They should do it fast before the nation sinks. God safe us as Nigeria is 61 years old.
- Idowu Bunmi(Mrs)-Senior civil servant:
Nigeria roads are bad. Both the Federal and States roads are not motorable even as we clock 61 years as a nation. Our Doctors are not treated well. They were for us during the COVID-19 Pandemic and abandoned thereafter, not minding their welfare and their entitlements as special workers.
This government campaigned in 2015 that it would not allow people to travel overseas for medical treatment once they got to power. But surprisingly, while the doctors were on industrial action, the President took off overseas for medical treatment! Many patients died before he returned to the country all because there was no doctor to attend to them. This is not good enough and the government must change its style for a caring one. While citizens are doing the right thing, the leaders themselves should do the right thing for those serving them and to the masses too.
They should equip our hospitals and build new ones. At 61 Nigeria’s graduates ride ‘’Okada’’(motorcycles) and cut grasses to make ends meet. One of the university graduates I met said why did I go to the university to come back to take okada riding as my work when I could easily do that without going to the university? Government should encourage people to be educated and not frustrate them. We ought to have outgrown all these inadequacies before now, so, I am appealing to our leaders to help build a nation we shall all be proud of.
- Houlukay( IT Expert):
If I want to congratulate people for their birthday, my prayer has always been for them to grow and increase in all ramifications as they are aging. Because aging is constant but growth takes individuals’ efforts.
In relation to Nigeria’s situation, we are only aging, counting numbers but not growing. No significant increase in any sector for the past eight years! All our past problems of 10-20 years are still there, none has been fixed despite huge promises during electioneering campaigns. Be it electricity, education, security, agriculture, investment from other nations, and many other things. The Nigeria government should think and pray to God rather than celebrate because no one receives anything except it is given to him from above. Towards election, we should pray for good leadership. Leaders after God’s heart is what we need in this country. Someone or people who would rely on God for direction and decision and not the selfish types who are after enriching themselves and their families and later flee to other countries enjoying our collective wealth dubiously stolen. Also, as individuals, we should love one another and shun selfishness.
- Sunday Adeniji (- A cobbler) :
Everybody was happy when this government came to power including myself, thinking that things will become better. But for now, things are so difficult that it is only God that can help us in this country.
Foodstuff is too costly. ‘Gaari'((fried cassava), our staple food is no longer a poor man’s food, yet, it is too costly. All foodstuffs are too costly in the market and to feed our family it is only God that is sustaining us. Unlike in the past, everything is not affordable. The same thing for electricity. There is no constant light most of the time and we pay heavily for the light we don’t use. That of petrol surprises me because we have petrol in Nigeria. But I was informed that none of our refineries is working that is why the price is too much. Let them do something about it.
For electricity, at 61 years as a nation, we cannot have 24 hours supply, this is too bad. It has been like this since independence in 1960, complaining about irregular power failure. Now it’s even worse; you pay for what you don’t use. Things have not changed. Life is unbearable in Nigeria. Can you imagine my son as a school graduate riding Okada for a living instead of a good job for him to take care of me after I have struggled to get him educated? I am an old man as you can see me. Let the government help us, the poor people are suffering, our children are suffering too.
The chicken has come home to roost. Nigerians have spoken. The minds of those interviewed are almost the same at one point or the other. It is hoped that at 61 years of age after independence, Nigeria will use another opportunity to give us good leaders and good direction as the elections are coming fast in 2023. Those in government now can still change over a new leaf. They can redeem the time and the time is now. Happy 61 independence anniversary and long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Panorama conducted by: Idowu Akintunde