Dr. Adetokunbo Pearse is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Nigeria’s Independence Day, October 1, should be a day of mourning and at the same time a day of reflection on how things have gone so bad. How did we come to this point where we are worse off than we were 20 years ago, that is what we should be reflecting on instead of going on a military parade and so on. The President should be able to ask himself, has he succeeded or failed? What is the state of security in the country now? So, it is a day of reflection. In fact, it is a day to acknowledge that we have actually killed democracy and I feel that since the Civil War, Nigeria has not been independent.
Nigeria has been locked up in a military cocoon since the Civil War by military leaders, who took over the government, promising their takeover to be temporary. But when they left office, they left office and left a constitution that is strangulating the nation, a military/unitary constitution, and until we change that constitution and we have real democracy and independence, where states will have their own independence and be self-reliant, Nigeria will continue to go from bad to worse.
Take a look at the northern part of Nigeria, how is it different from Somalia? Nigeria is only appearing to survive because of the southern part and the relative peace and growth in the South. What kind of country is this that out of the 36 states, one state is generating almost 70 per cent of the whole revenue in the country? If it is not for Lagos, Nigeria would have collapsed.
So, what we are saying is that until you allow the other states to grow, we will never have progress and if there is no progress there will be no peace. A hungry man is an angry man that is what we are going through now. How can we have five states in the southeast geopolitical zone and seven states in the northwest geopolitical zone and then you think the South-East will keep quiet.
How can you be producing oil and in Abia State and you don’t see the benefit of the oil and what about the south-south, it is a wasteland with all their resources. These things have to change but we need people with the mindset and for me, I’m optimistic that for once if we are lucky to have a president who understands the economy and who is not a religious bigot and who is not a tribalist, Nigeria will move forward. You cannot rule a multi-ethnic country like this by being so shallow-minded and thinking only of your own small group of people.