…Sue for Peace, Unity
As Nigerian’s reflect on the state of the nation after sixty years of independence from colonial rule, some residents of Rivers State have expressed views on their expectations for peace and unity in the country.
The general overseer of God’s Intervention Ministry, Port Harcourt, Dr. Mrs. Blessing Paul popularly called Mama B, was not satisfied with the state of affairs in the county. She however prophesied that good things will begin to happen in the country. She prayed that God will continue to endow the nation for greater exploits and sought God’s intervention for peace in the destiny of the nation.
She said whatever economic and social setbacks that have confronted Nigeria will be replaced with abundant blessings and called for uprightness in the leadership of the nation stating that righteousness exalts a nation.
The chairman, Transitional Council Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) Chief Keeper Gbaranor called for equity and justice in the affairs of the country.
He advocated for the restructuring of the Nigeria state, to make for devolution of power and resource control to the respective confederate states, arguing that it was the only way to guarantee fairness and even development to the component subnationals.
Ambassador Godspower Igwe a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state, sued for peace in the country.
Amb. Igwe called for concerted efforts to move the nation forward insisting that there is still hope for Nigeria and commended President Mohamadu Buhari for his efforts at initiating and promoting development in the country.
He stated that the recent commissioning of the rail line between the Atakpe to Kogi state was laudable and called for the support of Nigerians for the president.
Eze Vincent Nnaemeka Nwanewa in his comment appealed for love for one another, urging all Nigerians to embrace peace, and collectively work together with the powers that be to build the nation.
Prominent Rivers statesman Rev. Sokari Soberekon was however full of knocks for the leadership of the nation. According to the former world wrestling champion, the government has failed, citing the palpable insecurity, corruption in all sectors of the country and the abject poverty prevailing in the country in the last sixty years in a nation blessed with natural resources.
Rev. Soberekon called for resource control for the oil producing states, insisting that the continued underdevelopment of the Niger Delta region was provocative and insensitive of the present administration.
The elder statesman condemned the rationale of the Buhari administration to build rail line up to Niger Republic, stating that Nigerian states especially the East and Niger Delta states have no functional rail lines.
Kingsley Ejekwu, a businessman and politician based in Port Harcourt was not comfortable with developments in the country and called for new initiatives to build a united nation.
He however commended the Federal administration for the progress being made to reposition the country citing the new Port Harcourt Airport, the Bonny-Bodo road and the revamping of railways in the country as achievements.
Keke Driver, John Allen; who spoke to The Vortex on the Independence Anniversary decried the poverty in the land and the high cost of goods including the recent increase in fuel and electricity tariff. He concluded that there was nothing to celebrate in the country.
Mrs. Patience Anurika, a petty trader in Port Harcourt called for a change of priorities in the country. She decried the lack of attention to the poor in the society, stressing the lack of financial assistance to low income earners like the petty traders.
Mrs. Anurika lamented that the poor in the society can no longer feed the family as result of the economic crises in the country. She appealed to the state and federal government to create jobs to assist younger generations and stem the frustration of families and increasing crimes in the country.
Comrade Enefa Georgewill of the Civil Society Organization (CSO) reacting to the celebration of Nigeria 60th independence anniversary, described the state of affairs in the country as threatening and undemocratic.
He said what happened on the independence day when protest by civil society groups in the country was disrupted by policemen was a shameful threat to democratic ideals.
He stated that any nation that attempts to suppress citizens opinion cannot be said to be practicing democracy.
“We are not yet independent. Human rights and freedom are under threat, free speech is threatened and life itself is under threat.” Georgewill declared.
He condemned the character of the ruling class in the country who tend not to understand the plights of the masses in a democracy and called on the people to take their destiny in their own hands to salvage the country for themselves.
A security expert and elder statesman, Baba Jide Fashaken said Nigeria’s 60 years of independence is nothing to write about as the armed forces could not defeat the insurgents that have caused untold hardship and loss of lives and properties.
Fashaken, a retired Police Officer said those who threatened during President Goodluck Jonathan that they would make this country ungovernable should be arrested as, pointing out that unless they are arrested and prosecuted, the killings, kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, herdsmen attacks among other crimes will continue.
An economist, Mr. Belema Eli also flayed President Muhammadu Buhari’s Independence Day speech for comparing Nigeria’s petroleum pump price with other oil producing countries rather than it with social and human welfare.
Mr. Eli opined that what the President should listen to the cries of the masses and ensure that the refineries’ worked, rather than planning to build new ones, adding that even the planned construction of rail line from Nigeria to Niger Republic is a misplaced priority. “Most federal roads are death traps even as that of Oyigbo to Port Harcourt and Akpajo, Eleme, Onne are awaiting urgent government attention,” he said.
A Muslim Leader and Vice President General, supreme council of Islamic Affairs Rivers State, Alhaji Nasir Awhelebe Uhor said, “it is good to say that Nigeria is still together as a country inspite of all challenges as we mark 60th Independence anniversary. Several times people predicted that Nigeria will disintegrate but the objective of a country is not just to survive but how to live.
Alhaji Uhor noted that for Nigeria to come this far, it is time for it to be able to judiciously analyze its national and human resources for good services of the people rather than surviving on few individuals, stressing that the greatest challenge was how to make the country to survive for all Nigerians and not for the privileged few.