News / Africa

Nigeria Celebrates Fifty Years Of Independence

A prominent politician gives his country a mixed review

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan
Ashenafi Abedje

Nigerians today celebrate the 50th anniversary of their independence from Britain.  The ceremonies in the capital, Abuja, included a military parade, fireworks and an address to the nation by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Police say at least seven people were killed in explosions near the country's Independence Day celebrations.  Nigeria's most prominent militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), warned of the explosions about an hour before they occurred.

The incident did not disrupt the festivities.

Reflections

So how do Nigerians reflect on their fifty years of independence?  Former Anambra state governor Chris Ngige says the record is a mixed bag.

“Joy because as a nation, we have attained fifty years of nationhood.  We fought a fratricidal war and we came back as one country.  We have sadness in that the expectations of the founding fathers have not been met.”

Militants from Nigeria's oil rich Niger Delta set off several small bombs in the capital during ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary. A Nigerian police officer walks past the burnt out shell of a car, after a car bomb exploded in Abuja, Nigeria.
Militants from Nigeria's oil rich Niger Delta set off several small bombs in the capital during ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary. A Nigerian police officer walks past the burnt out shell of a car, after a car bomb exploded in Abuja, Nigeria.

 

Ngige says today Nigerians are “wallowing in poverty” as seventy percent of the people live below the poverty line.  Today’s anniversary, he says, is an occasion for Nigerians to “soberly reflect and rededicate ourselves anew.”

Military rule

The former governor laments the role of the military in “stunting the development of democracy” in Nigeria.
“Military rule by its nature is undemocratic, an aberration.

All political structures are pulled down during military rule, ruling with fiats and decrees.  These have made democracy not to grow in Nigeria,” he says.

The veteran official says military decrees and laws, often made by a handful of people, have always been draconian and antithetical to the tents of democracy.

Corruption

Ngige says despite Nigeria’s status as the leading oil producer in Africa, Nigerians have benefitted very little from oil revenues.  He blames what he calls “rampant corruption” among the country’s officials.

Nigeria Celebrates Fifty Years Of Independence
Nigeria Celebrates Fifty Years Of Independence

 

“The oil is being stolen from source before export and while it’s being exported.  The money gotten from the sale of oil is cornered by few greedy elites.  And using massive fraudulent means, they have denied their fellow countrymen the benefits of the oil wealth,” he says.

Ngige places little faith in the anti-corruption campaigns of Nigeria’s last two governments.

Peacekeeping

The former governor says Nigeria deserves credit for helping create and maintain peace in the sub-region.

“It is a major achievement.  Nigeria is big and because everybody in the continent and sub-region look up to us as Big Brother, we have lived up to that responsibility of providing Big Brother outlook and protection,” he says.

Ngige says such peacekeeping efforts under both military and civilian governments are among the bright spots in his country’s fifty years of post-independence history.  

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid