Prominent human rights activists, politicians and groups insisted on Monday that Nigerians had no cause to celebrate the country’s 52nd independence.
Lagos lawyers/activists, Femi Falana (SAN) and Festus Keyamo; the Action Congress of Nigeria Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande; a United States-based rights group leader, Mr. Smart Ajala; and the Joint Action Front said Nigerians should be mourning.
In separate interviews with News Agency of Nigeria, Falana and Keyamo lamented the situation of the country.
Falana said the important task facing the nation’s political system was how to foster lasting democracy and not “the mere celebration of independence”.
According to him, the quality of life of an average Nigeria is better off in the past compared to the current situation.
Falana said the independence anniversary should be used to evolve strategies for redressing the national crisis of under development and the consolidation of democratic principles.
He said, “Our leaders must ensure the realisation of the dream of independence, which is to make life more abundant for the citizens.”
Keyamo said the anniversary would only be meaningful to the citizens if the target was to tackle the nation’s political, economic and socio-economic problems.
He said, “A true democracy must begin with making the votes of the masses count in every election.”
Akande, who spoke with one of our correspondents in a telephone interview, regretted that the country had been bedeviled by corruption, ineptitude and lack of growth.
He said, “What is there to cheer about? Is it the lack of power supply after 52 years? Or is it the rudderless governance by the Peoples Democratic Party-led Federal Government? Nigeria is has turned into battleground for terrorists, kidnappers, armed robbers and other various forms of violent engagements.
“We must face the challenges of nationhood. We must vote out all governments that hold down the people and negate development. Nigerians must begin to hold their leaders accountable.”
Also, First Republic politician, Chief Ayo Fasanmi, said there was nothing to celebrate in the attainment of the country’s 52 years of nationhood.
The 87-year-old, said October 1, 2012 should be a sober reflection for Nigerians.