The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) said Friday that 57 years after the nation’s independence, Nigeria was still “dancing naked” in the public to the full glare of the whole world while its roof is still on fire and challenge the nation’s leadership to see this year’s independence celebration as an opportunity to reposition the country.
President of the Congress, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama said in his Independence Day message that Nigerians must look at the reality in our country dispassionately, honestly and work to achieve a better Nigeria for our children.
He said: “ordinarily it should not be out of place if we roll out our drums today to celebrate this feat, but we cannot, because like they say “you don’t participate in a dance competition when your house is on fire.” Nigeria is dancing at the market square naked to the full glare of the whole world when our roof is on fire.”
According to him, over a 100-year after the north and south were amalgamated with the sole aim of complementing each other and the attainment of independence on in 1960, many had thought that progress and development would be rapid. Pointing out that this has not been so.
“This day should remind us of our heritage, the vision and struggles of the founding fathers unfortunately some have had cause to question the rationale behind the quest for independence in the first place. Our tale is that of a conundrum with insurgencies, collapsed educational system, gross unemployment, ritual killing, cultism, prostitution/rape, mass emigration, de-industrialisation, tribalism and nepotism, inept leadership, environmental challenge, infrastructural decay, gender issues, badoo, kidnapping, yahooPlus, corruption and anti-graft, and a host of others.”
The Congress regretted that while Nigeria remain one of the 17 countries that attained independence in 1960, “Nigeria is not at par with many of these countries today even when they do not have one-tenth of what we have in terms of human and natural resources. Nature has been fair to Nigeria but Nigeria is not fair to itself.
“Our plight as a country beats the imagination of the world. Why? We have an ocean behind our house yet bath with spittle. The United State of America has enjoyed nationhood for over 250 years, yet still together with its components states. Politicians frustrate every effort to make our country healthier.
“How do we reconcile it that in a country where state governments claim they cannot pay ordinary N18, 000 national minimum a lawmaker who barely attends three sessions per week smiles home with over N30m per month? Isn’t it laughable that our lawmakers now compete with stand-up comedians, musical artists and professional dancers? If people fail to agitate under this circumstance then it means we are ill-fated.
“It is a good thing to have the I-CAN-DO-IT attitude but it is also wisdom to bring on board those who can help actualise your aspiration. At home and in diaspora are many Nigerians that have excelled in their businesses and contributed meaningfully in building the economies of host countries: Mr. Adebayo Ogunlesi is a Nigerian and he bought three foreign Airports through his private firm in six years; Mr. Philips Emegwali was christened the father of computer and Mr. Jelani Aliyu, the designer who produced General Motor (GM’s) most electrifying advanced technology vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt concept.
“Given the enormous wealth of human and natural resources that the Creator out of His magnanimity has bestowed to this country, we should not lack any basic need of life? The pain we bear is a needless one.
“We challenge the leadership and Nigerians to see this year’s independence anniversary as a vintage opportunity to reflect on our polity, economy and society at large. We must all look at the reality in our country dispassionately, honestly and work to achieve a better Nigeria for our children.
“Life has become unbearable for majority of Nigerians. It is laughable that our leaders travel abroad, but do not replicate what they saw over there. Why will the country not be hit by recession when politicians spend 80% of their jumbo pay in buying properties in Dubai, UK, US, South Africa, etc?
“How can the education sector run a full session without strike when the children of politicians school abroad? The deplorable state of our roads is not a priority because they fly? When the system favours them there are no comments seen; but when it is otherwise they import arms and assemble youth to distabilise the system.
“The outcome of disenchantment is the crises and agitations we see everywhere. Our key functionaries and institutions must be made to work respectively and religiously like it is done elsewhere. Insecticides and deodorants have their roles. You cannot achieve result when you misapply the two liquids.
“The Congress, nay Nigerians are worried that the things we watch in films are now common sights. Recently the Nigerian Customs Services declared that no fewer than 2,500 pump Action guns have so far intercepted. For what purpose were they imported if not to throw the country into major crisis?
“What is the value of life in Nigeria? It is shameful that beyond the despicable situation the so-called elites have forced us into they still acquire guns and fanned the embers of disunity for us to kill ourselves. They take advantage of our frustrated children while theirs are in different parts of Europe spending our money. We are wiser now.
“Notwithstanding the myriad of challenges confronting the country, the Congress believes Nigeria can be great if the leadership wants. The world dismisses us but we must not dismiss ourselves.
“The world is pessimistic about the future of the most populated black nation but we must resolve to shame them. The country must not be allowed to snowball into a theatre of war and a ready-made market for arms and ammunitions. No. Never again! It is natural to despair but the Congress sees light at the end of the tunnel.
“We wish to appeal to the Federal Government to remember its “change mantra”. It makes no sense accusing and condemning the previous administrations for corruption only for the recovered money to be re-looted. Mere leaving a political party for the ruling party must not make anybody a saint.
“Anti-graft agencies and the judiciary must prosecute those who were caught with our money. We know corruption is fighting back but we are confident that the war over evil will always emerge victorious.
“The world is watching and waiting for the pride of Africa and most populated black nation to blossom. The Federal Government’s economic recovery plan must not fail. No more excuses.”