Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nigeria’s Unfinished Agenda at 51 - {Part 1 of 4}
22 October 2011

Written by Dr. Emmanuel Ojameruaye    

Introduction: Anniversaries are usually times for celebration, sober reflection on the past and planning for the future. Now that we have just finished the celebratory phase of Nigeria’s 51st anniversary, it is time to take stock of our achievements and failures during the past 51 years, and the challenges we still face, and then determine what we need to do in the years ahead in order to realize the dreams of our founding fathers.  At independence in 1960, Nigeria’s founding fathers had lofty dreams, some of which were encapsulated in the country’s first national anthem (1960-1978), “Nigeria We Hail Thee”, which was composed by a British lady, Lilian Jean Williams. Parts of the lyrics of the national anthem read: “Though tribes and tongues may differ, in brotherhood we stand,…That truth and justice reign, …To hand on to our children, a banner without stain,….O God of all creation, help us to build a nation where no man is oppressed, And so with peace and plenty…Nigeria may be blessed”.

These phrases from the national anthem capture the dreams of the founding fathers, which included: a) unity in diversity; b) truth, justice and equity for all; and c) a peaceful and prosperous country where subsequent generations (children) will live better than previous generations (parents). In a sense, these dreams which have not yet been realized constitute Nigeria’s unfinished agenda at 51 years after independence.

The purpose of this paper is to examine some the key challenges Nigeria still faces (“the unfinished agenda”) and suggest how to address them in order to realize the dreams of the country’s founding fathers and the promise of the Nigerian enterprise. To be sure, the challenges are very many, but I will focus on power sharing, federalism, elections, governance, corruption, peace & security, poverty, and development planning.

Due to the length of the paper, it will be published in four parts. Part 1 will cover Power Sharing and Federalism; Part 2 will cover Good Governance and Corruption; Part 3 will cover Elections, Peace and Security, and Poverty Reduction, and Part 4 will cover  Development Planning and the concluding remarks. 

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