In next 24 hours Nigeria will be 58 years old as an independent nation. The journey from independence to date has been very rough, in the sense that just six years after independence, we got involved in the civil war but we got over the civil war, and started the task of reconstruction. We were lucky that within short a time, coupled with the oil boom that came after the civil war, we were able to recover from the atrocities we suffered during the civil war.
Really, at the time we attained independence as young people, our hope was that within the first 50 years, Nigeria would be at least one of the first 20 leading economies in the world taking into consideration the human and natural resources of the country but unfortunately the intervention of the military terminated the first set of patriotic and selfless civilian leaders. That was the beginning of our problems because if those leaders in the first republic had survived like their counterparts in other parts of Africa did, today would have been a different story.
Our hope as young people at the time of independence has been dashed. The corruption that took place during the military era got worse when the civilians took over the reigns of governance. What civilians are doing today, no military government could have done it. The civilian governments today are more dictatorial than the military government.
However, the beauty of it is that all hopes are not lost because Nigerian voters are getting more and more educated, getting more and more enlightened and are learning in the hard way and therefore they are gradually taking the right decisions and it is my believe that 2019 will be the beginning of Nigeria voters teaching politicians unforgettable lessons.
The only thing that needs to be done differently to salvage the situation is respect for the rule of law. That is critical, there is no magic about it. Once you have a government and you respect the rule of law everything moves in place. When there is respect for the rule of law, there is going to be fairness in government, there is going to be equity, so all parts of the country will be treated equally without any discrimination. Each and every citizen will have equal opportunity to realize his potentials as citizen of the country and once you do that, the sky will be the beginning of every Nigerian and that is what has deluded Nigeria.
Every President that comes in, promises heaven and earth, the moment he assumes the position of authority, he begins to discriminate in one way or the other.
The entire resources of Nigeria today are in the hands of not more than 50 people, that is why there is poverty everywhere. People who award contracts are the contractors, so where do we get justice, where do we get equity? There is impunity is everywhere, nobody cares about the constitution; nobody cares about respect for the rule of law.
► Adapted from an interview by Senator Saidu Muhammad Dansadau, founder of the National Rescue Movement (NRM) and first Senator to represent the Zamfara Central Senatorial Zone between 1999 and 2007