Unity among all ethnic groups is a pre-requisite for national development

Many Nigerians believe the current situation can be better as the nation marks 57 years of independence from colonial domination. With the present threats of corruption, religious intolerance, rising crime, youth unemployment, kidnapping, ritual killings, mounting poverty, citizens’ anger and agitation, the status quo needs change. To you, what is the next step for Nigeria to ensure better overall development at 57 years?

ABIMBOLA AKOSILE

* Our colonialists have come and gone, we must move on. Looking back is bad manners; 57 years are enough to become wise. I think we have done very well as an independent nation so far though there is still vast room for improvement. We must remain focused and avoid all the unnecessary self-inflicted distractions challenging Nigeria today. We must also improve on leadership, energy, education and food, urgently. Secession agitators must look at South Sudan twice. God bless Nigeria.

Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State

* There is an urgent need to embark on federal reforms entailing devolution of powers and resources to the federating units. This is to be preceded by elite consensus on the imperative of transparency, open government and good governance as foundation for a prosperous Nigeria.

Mallam Olawale Rasheed, Abuja

* We need to restructure the country into regions. Agriculture, health, education, minerals resources e.t.c. have been ignored, educational sector have just suspended their national strike over poor facilities and enumeration. Agriculture that was sustained by real farmers was hijacked by middlemen/politicians who sold fertilisers to farmers at exorbitant prices, while subsequent governments merely paid lip service to the sector. There is corruption in governance where looting has become priority to our leaders and pensioners are still earning less than N10,000 as monthly pension stipends. Can that amount pay house rent, feeding of self-family, children school fees e.t.c? Let us restructure, so that we can all harness the God-given mineral resources our country is endowed with all over the States and local government areas.

Mr. Dogo Stephen, Kaduna

* Insecurity lapses need to be addressed as we mark our 57 independence; without security there will be no meaningful development.

Mrs. Ijeoma Nnorom, Lagos

* The next step is to bring down those walls that separate us by developing a system where every interest is taken care of. A system where laws are enforced not only made. Federal character must be strictly adhered to in political appointments and developmental projects. At the same time Nigerians must shift from the mentality of claiming marginalisation based on political appointments and not developmental projects or employment opportunities. Blocking of leakages approach should be so institutionalised that corruption in every sector is greatly reduced. Nothing decimates corruption like blocking of leakages. A look at the recent disparity between what JAMB remits to the Federal Government now and what it did before now is an astonishing indication of how effective blocking of leakages can be. A disparity of N3 million to N5 billion in remittances in just one government agency shows what is possible.

Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State

* Our strength lies in our diversity. We must commit to genuinely rebuilding our broken walls and global image, as a nation and people united by a common destiny.

Ms. Nkeiruka Abanna, Lagos State

* The threats of corruption, religious intolerance e.t.c. are all signs of lack of trust of who we are; the country we belong to, and the love we have for ourselves and for one another. God has blessed Nigeria with all that any can deserve but many of us are blind to seeing that due to our selfish ambitions. The next step for Nigeria at 57 is for us to throw away our differences and re-unite to come together and harvest the abundant blessings God has provided for this nation.

Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna

* This year’s independence anniversary was rather low-key with nothing to celebrate after 57 years of nationhood. The average Nigerian citizen both here and in the Diaspora around the world can admit that the current situation doesn’t allow any joyful celebration, in the face of serial looting and persistent corruption among top government officials, rising spate of ritual killing and kidnapping for ransom, communal conflicts and nationwide instability caused by the quit notices issued to other settler tribes and ethnic groups around the country. The way forward now is for government to ensure widespread reforms in the governance structure and make this happen in the most peaceful manner possible. That should be the next step before any other thing.

Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State

* The next and best step for Nigeria is physical and fiscal federalism as well as affirmative action rights for minorities of whatever description. In particular the result of fiscal federalism would mean hard work, accountability and less corrupt practices.

Barr. DYN Maigari, Abuja

* Vigorously reformed, modern and Nigerianised policies, quality leadership, security, available food, patriotism, social infrastructure, honesty, virile job creation across board, genuine love, peace and unity are all very vital and urgently needed now. Watch and check arms proliferation across our porous ports especially as general elections in Nigeria are fast approaching. God bless Nigeria.

Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State

* Nigeria at 57, we have seen the good, bad and ugly but we pray that good things will continue to come our ways as a nation. We must have sober reflection as we celebrate our 57th independence anniversary on how to move Nigeria forward in the diversification of the economy from oils to agriculture and other sectors. At 57, we would have gone far in development because we have the required resources, but corruption in governance has reduced us to an undeveloped nation. We must stop corruption now.

Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State

* Though there are various problems right now in Nigeria, but we will surely overcome this. The National Economic Development Plan will analyse the country’s objectives and priorities in relation to all these sectors. Any national economy is built up of several sectors and key strategic policies as a framework for local planning. We need to emphasise developmental  issues, citizens’ participation in developmental projects, plans to secure our country’s prosperity and unity, wealth creation, increasing investment in social amenities, i.e. good roads, water, health, schools, universities, devolution of power, minerals and waste management e.t.c. There should be plans for effective use of the scare resources and timely use of the budgets, with better housing schemes.

–  Mr. Michael Adedotun Oke, Founder Michael Adedotun Oke Foundation, Abuja

THE FEEDBACK

Top tip: Rebuild broken walls of unity

Second: Kick-start structural reforms

Third: Eliminate corruption scourge

Radical tip: Block all leakages!

Total no of respondents: 12

Male: 9

Female: 3

Highest location: Lagos (5)

Next Week: Are the Elites Nigeria’s Major Problem?

Although this argument appears unending, many analysts believe Nigeria’s staggered growth process was caused mainly by the elites and ruling class who have consistently plundered the nation’s treasury at the expense of her expected development. However, others insist that a nation only gets the leadership it deserves, and that the masses are equally culpable in their apathy and in leaving the elites to run amok in the process of governance. To you, are the elites the major problem of Nigeria’s development, and if yes or no, what is the remedy?    

Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (October 5 & Monday, October 9) to abimbolayi@yahoo.com, greatbimbo@gmail.com, AND abimbola.akosile@thisdaylive.com. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, October 12