By OLAGOKE OLATAYO
ADO-EKITI- As some residents of Ekiti said Nigeria has a lot to celebrate, others believed that the country was still lagging behind among the comity of nations.
They spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Ado-Ekiti
Commenting, Alhaji Jamiu Kewulere, the Grand Imam of Ekiti Central Mosque, said in Nigeria, we have every cause to give thanks to God for keeping the country as one in spite of its diversity and challenges.
Kewulere said it was only in the atmosphere of unity and togetherness that the much desired socioeconomic development could be achieved.
“First, we have to give thanks to God, because in spite of the numerous challenges of insecurity, agitations and domestic problems, Nigeria still remain one sovereign entity.
“Many countries today, especially in Africa are currently in the situation of civil war, while others are in precarious atmosphere that has threatened their survival and existence.
“But, in our own case, we still remain one entity in spite of the numerous socioeconomic, political and domestic challenges confronting the country.
“It is only in such unity that we can think and plan for the political transition in 2023; it is only in that unified atmosphere that we think of having a national census.
“So, first and foremost, we have every cause to use the opportunity of the anniversary to thank God for His faithfulness over our lives and country,” he said.
Also, Prophet Christopher Aboyeji of the Christ Apostolic Church, Ori-Oke Alaseyori, Iworoko-Ekiti, said the country needed divine intervention through prayers for its continuous survival and existence.
According to him, current development in the country has gone beyond the capacity of any human being to single handedly sanitise or repair without God’s divine intervention.
“In fact, it is prayers that has kept us this far. The rate of poverty, hunger, insecurity, unemployment and economic constraints has caused undue tension among the citizenry.
“We are now more divided along ethno-religious, cultural and political background and the only way out of this logjam is to be dedicated as true and responsible citizens to pray for the nation on its 62nd anniversary,” he said.
Aboyeji stressed the need for parents, religious leaders and traditional rulers to be alive to their parental, spiritual and traditional responsibilities in bringing about the desired peace and tranquility in the country.
Contributing, Oba Ganiyu Obasoyin, the Olukere of Odo-Oja-Ekiti in Ikere Local Government area of the state, said that the nation’s security, socioeconomic and other domestic challenges were surmountable with collective responsibility of every stakeholder.
“I think we have been managing our affairs for the past 62 years and with more efforts from every Nigerian, the country will get to its desire destination.
“If we can reason as Nigerians, not as a Yoruba, Ibo or Hausa, those problems or challenges will be a thing of the past,” Obasoyin said.
The traditional ruler said the dreams of the country’s founding fathers of a prosperous, unified and economically viable nation should be paramount in the minds of every citizen as the country celebrate its independent anniversary.
He called for more constitutional roles for the nation’s traditional rulers, saying that such would assist, in no small measures, in complementing the efforts of the governments toward transforming the grassroots.
Also, Sunday Adewale, an undergraduate of Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, expressed regret that the face-off between the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was allowed by both parties to escalate and lingers.
“What started as a child’s play has now become a major problem in the education sector.
“To me, the unresolved face-off has taken shine off any celebration about the country’s independent anniversary.
“I am using this opportunity to appeal to the warring parties to, as a matter of urgency, put a stop to the industrial action in the interest of the students and the nation at large,” Adewale said.
Also, Mr Biodun Ogunniyi, an Artisan, decried the hike in raw materials of motor parts, furniture making, tailoring and automobile repairs, saying that they were too expensive to afford.
Ogunniyi said that five years ago, cars were affordable to buy and many other raw materials were equally cheaper in the market, but currently, things were becoming unbearable for an average Nigerian.
He decried the sudden increase in prices of petroleum, thereby paving way for hike in the prices of food items, beverages, cars, house rent, land, clothes, gas and kerosine, which had made cost of living for an average Nigerian difficult.
Ogunniyi advised the Federal Government to review the various challenges facing Nigerians and put an end to it quickly as Nigerians were in the mood of celebrating.
Commenting, Mrs Tolani Bamigbose, a Civil Servant, said that the monthly salary of a civil servant could no longer feed his or her family for a week, not to talk of a month.
Bamigbose explained that many government workers were living on loans and monthly contributions, popularly called “Ajo”.
This she said was because of incessant increase in the prices of food, house rent, transportation, clothing and motor parts, among others.
She urged the Federal Government to establish a workable policy that would improve the nation’s economy and make essential needs of Nigerians affordable and cheap.
In his remarks, a University lecturer, Dr Helen Adebimpe, said the suffering of Nigerians were enormous.
“Nigeria clocking 62 years is not worth celebrating, because the political leaders have wasted the resources of the country,” Adebimpe said.
She said many Nigerians were beginning to travel out of the country because the cost of living in Nigeria was too expensive, adding that there was no good jobs for youths, while insecurity was prevailing on daily basis.
Adebimpe advised the Federal Government to give priority to the welfare and safety of Nigerians and should not concentrate on making policies that would add to the hardship of its citizen.
Commenting, a legal practitioner, Mr Biodun Adelusi, frowned at the level of insecurity in the country, saying that there was nothing much to celebrate, if the issue of insecurity was not resolved.
Also, Mr Josiah Adelabu, a Banker, said that Nigeria was faced with myriad of challenges, especially the social, economic and security challenges, which has made it increasingly difficult for the country to realise her potential for greatness.
Adelabu said that no patriotic Nigerian could pretend to be satisfied with the development and progress of the country, 62 years after independence.
“There is little to celebrate about Nigeria at 62, as the depressing indices in areas like security of lives and property, food production, industrial output, quality of education, healthcare, economic diversification and productivity were indeed causes to worry about.
A businessman, Mr Tobi Solomon, said that Nigeria still has a very long way to go, because, “our economy is in need of serious attention of sound political and economic judgment, so that it would not go worst.
Also, in the area of education,
an educationist, Mr Wale Iborida, said that Nigeria had evolved politically, educationally and judicially over a period of 62 years.
Iborida said that Nigeria has a great and responsible start in education when we gained Independence in 1960.
He said that the colonialists handed over to Nigeria, an educational sector, which impacted positively on the masses, as each geographical region was engaging in healthy competition with one another to nurture great minds.
Iborida said the success recorded in education in Nigeria within the period of 62 years was as a result of both the government and individual efforts.
He said that stakeholders, including government, private, traditional and religion leaders should rise up to rescue the education sector from suffering more decay by ensuring that more funding were made available to the sector.
The educationist said the way forward on the education system currently, was that government should increase funding of education.
Iborida adding that they should provide more infrastructure facilities in all the nation’s educational institutions.
He said that government and proprietors of schools should reduce the cost of education so that parents could easily afford to educate their wards.
A legal practitioner, Mr Temitope Omotayo, said the major challenge Nigeria has facing since independence was bad leadership, which had caused the country to be underdeveloped, among other Africa’s countries.
Omotayo said that this had affected various sectors in the country which has demoralised the progress and development in the country.
He said the country’s development remain stagnant as a result of the series of challenges facing it, while production of goods and services were very low and poor.
“As the 2023 general election is approaching, the electorate should vote for a new government that will attend to the cry of the masses, tackle corruption, unemployment, among others in order to make Nigeria better, progress and developed like other Africa countries.” (NAN)