Senators on Thursday, unanimously submitted that the nation’s leaders, apart from those who fought for its independence, 53 years ago, had failed to provide the required leadership that could make the country socio-economically independent.
They also admitted that the nation’s leadership since the return to full democratic rule, 14 years ago, had taken no serious step to tackle corruption, unemployment, rot in the education sector, decayed infrastructure and nepotism.
However, while some of them believed that the situation could be improved upon through a change of attitude by the leadership, others believed that a total take over of government by the progressive politicians in 2015 would save the country from the current mess.
The senators said this during their contributions to a motion moved by the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, who requested the Senate to congratulate President Goodluck Jonathan, the government and people of Nigeria on the nation’s 53rd independence anniversary.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang, in his contribution, noted that the crisis in the nation’s educational sector and the reduction of Nigeria to a mere raw material provider for manufacturing firms in other countries, was not good enough for a truly independent nation.
He said, “A truly independent nation is measured by its quality of education and economic sustainability. A situation whereby our universities are shut for months and manufacturing companies and relocating daily to neighbouring countries is not good enough for an independent nation
“How can we claim to be an independent nation when all we do is just to produce raw materials for processing firms outside the country and nothing serious is being done to address the high rate of unemployment “
Senator Barnabas Gemade urged the nation leadership to improve on the social infrastructure, the power supply and develop its agricultural potential as a startegy to tackle unemployment.
Senator Kabiru Gaya, said, “Nigeria always take one step forward and several ones backward whenever there is a change in government.”
He also noted that a deliberate attempt to improve the agricultural sector and a committed effort to fight corruption was required to tackle the social and economic challenges facing the country.
Senator Smart Adeyemi noted that the problems confronting the nation was selfishness, greed and absence of nationalistic spirit in the nature and attitude of the nation’s leaders.
He recalled with regret that while the current leaders were self-centred by putting the interests of their family and community first in their activities, the leaders who fought for the nation’s independence were selfless and made national interest their priority.
However, the Senator representing Lagos East, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, changed the course of the discussion when he said that only the emergence of the progressives could bring about the desired change.
Ashafa, who lamented that past and present leaders had mismanaged the nation’s resources, expressed confidence that the situation would change when the progressive politicians take over power in 2015.
His position was supported by Senators Ayoade Adeseun, Ganiyu Solomon, and Akin Odunsi, who in their submissions, believed that Nigerian leaders had failed the citizens.
The Chairman Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, noted that since there could be no democracy without democrats, Nigerian leaders should encourage shades of opinion because those with contrary opinions also love the country.
Senate President David Mark commended his colleagues for their frank, sincere and objective appraisal of the nation’s polity, a development he noted, showed that the senators were worried about the current situation in Nigeria and were genuinely seeking a positive change.
He commended Nigerians for their patience and urged public office holders to live above parochialism by seeing every Nigerian as their brother and sister in line with the contents of the old national anthem.
He said, “Nigerians have every reason to be anxious and to be impatient. We are endowed with abundant human and natural resources but our people are still suffering. We have to congratulate them for their patience.”