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

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid