A Kaduna-based legal practitioner, John Achimugu, has said even at 62 years, Nigeria is yet to be fully independent of itself.
He opined that what the leadership of the country has achieved in the past six decades has impoverished and alienated its people from real independence and divided the people along religious, ethnic and sectional differences to achieve their selfish pursuits.
Speaking to newsmen in Kaduna on Friday, the legal practitioner stated, “The journey so far since the country got her independence has not been encouraging, we got independent in 1960, the independence is purely ceremonial not in substance. We expect that by now we will be matured in our journey to nationhood, but, unfortunately, it has been a pathetic one.
“We were more united when we had the colonial masters and together we were all aspiring to become independent. Since independence up to this 62 years, our journey today reflected a more divided nation, completely a country that has become more polarised on the basis of ethnicity because of the pure art of nepotism that has perverted every face of government appointments over the past decades.
“We are a nation that has become more ethnically sensitive and alienated from one another, at independence, we were more of a community than today. The level of evil that pervert our land today in terms of banditry, kidnapping, insurgency, ritual killings, robbery and all the violent crimes, it seems to me that in the past, in the early 60s, we had greater good conscience than what perverts our society today.”
He lamented that today, a certain group of people are ready to take the citizens of the country into custody just for the sake of extorting money from them through kidnapping which has become a lucrative business, stressing that all have become restricted and imprisoned at their homes and even in their homes, they are no longer safe.
He asked, “So what is the independence we are talking about? Is it because the whites are no longer ruling us, what is our independence when we can no longer feed ourselves, we do not have our education going on, yet, we claimed to have 62 years of independence.”
He believes the emergence of true, patriotic leaders not rulers through a democratic process has also been a mirage, saying, “the reason is very obvious, what we call democracy in Nigeria is a deception where party platforms have become avenues to seek power for self-aggrandisement for corruption, for economic power to the detriment of the people.”
The legal practitioner noted, “There is no internal democracy in the parties, and, therefore, we are expecting the parties to sponsor people and give us as a nation, how can political parties that have no internal democracy give the nation democracy, it is not possible to give us what they do not have.”
“The politicians having gotten power, use whatever that is available, to their benefits and of people of their ethnic persuasions, and religion. For us to have leaders that will truly serve this country, we need to be very careful in looking at the antecedents of the people contesting for the election of offices in the country. They are new colonial masters that this country has, everything about them is outside the country including their resources and family.
“The only thing they seek from us is our mandate so that our resources can be exported to other foreign nations so that after they have finished depriving us, they go and enjoy and leave us in the heat of problems of their misrule.
“The mandate to purchase voter cards, purchase votes and through every form of demonic manipulation to attend power, we have not improved as a country because the election is not about us but about them and when they obtain the power, their objective is about themselves and it is not about the people, that is why we are still in the position we are till date.”