|Chief Olisa Agbakoba|
Renowned lawyer, pro-democracy and rights activist, Chief Olisa Agbakoba, has said that there is no success story to celebrate in Nigeria as the country clock 57.
Speaking in an interview, Mr. Agbakoba said there are many losses than gain to be celebrated in Nigeria today, for 57 years it became an independent nation.
Mr. Agbakoba opined that unless the country come together on a round table and discuss the way to move forward, else, Nigeria and its inhabitants will continue to live as husband and wife in a forceful marriage.
According to him; “As Nigeria marks 57, they are mostly losses because we are unable to organise ourselves properly and part of the reasons for this is that, in reality, I doubt that there is a nation called Nigeria, because it was a territory created by the British in 1914 and by 1960, they generated a political party that would take power.
“By 1966, the whole thing collapsed in a coup and from 1966 through the war, we have soldiers ending up with General Abdulsalami Abubakar that gave us a constitution, which is actually a decree. So, in reality, the people have not agreed on how they would associate.
“So, I associate it with a forced marriage where husband and wife did not agree on anything. Honestly, it is easy for them to quarrel on anything.
“What you see in Nigeria, all the crises, are as a result of this lack of agreement about what is our political destiny. So, I will say we have continued to decline in all the statistics: whether in the field of education; in the first 1,000 universities in the world, Nigeria is not there; even in sports, including football that Nigeria excelled at the Olympics and which it used to excel, we are not there.
“In infrastructure, all the roads have broken down; unemployment is at its highest, almost 70 million Youths are unemployed. All the hospitals have broken down. So there is no independence success story and that’s the truth. I can’t point to any success story. Everyday, one grapples with the idea or thought what would happen.
“You are not sure; the country is too fragile. So, I would only hope that there is a break or reflection on October 1st, that our politicians would understand that they would need to give Nigerians a good deal. And the good deal can come in the shape of a new constitution, shaped by the people and not shaped by the politicians, in which the constitution will enable the relevant agencies to be relieved and Nigerians could feel the energy of their resources.
Speaking on the way forward, Agbakoba said the country should return to the 1963 republican constitution… Adding that there is the need of devolution of powers.
He said; “Conceptually, I do agree with the need to redistribute powers from the centre to the regions. Whether it is the 1963 constitution, it requires discussions. That is the point. But I accept in principle that the federal government is strong and it needs to cede some powers to the regions.
“How that would happen is what is required to be discussed and vote or put upon by a referendum of Nigerians and not the National Assembly.