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The growth of nationhood is a collective affair – Adebayo Akande at Atáyeṣe’s Awo Lecture (Tola Adenle)

October 10, 2015

Nigeria

Being text of Chief Adebayo Akande, MFR, Ẹkẹfa Olubadan of Ibadanland, delivered during Atáyeṣe’s celebration to mark 58th Anniversary of Western Nigeria’s attainment of Self-Rule on September 29, 2015 – TOLA ADENLE.

 

It is indeed my pleasure and a great honour to chair this even which has a direct bearing on happenings in our present-day Nigeria. If you are to summarise the trajectory of our country in the last few decades, you will possibly end up with very sad remarks of how dismal it has  been, not only to live in Nigeria but also to be a Nigerian. Those at home are faced with challenges of infrastructure, scant opportunities and insecurity. Those abroad may find it hard to explain the burden of carrying the green passport outside the shores of this geographical unit that is Nigeria.

As you all know, in two days time, Nigeria will celebrate 55 years of independence for it was in that time that the [British] Union Jack was lowered to pave way for our nationals who had fought hard for freedom to manage the affairs of the country. It was indeed expected that the freedom we got many years ago would by now have translated into a great and prosperous nation. The question we must ask is: how much freedom have we now and how much have we yet to get from the attainment of national and regional self-government?

Judging from what we call the Nigerian political atmosphere of do-or-die politics which is characterised by wanton corruption and mismanagement of public funds and property, one cannot but long for the Awolowo era, the heydays of our political history in Nigeria.

Successive governments and persistent loss of societal values that have characterised those years since the attainment of regional self rule and national independence cannot but give the impression that we have not had anything better in Nigeria since that era.

Today, we have people who want to be regarded as taking after the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. They are not easy to find as they masquerade themselves in give-away attires, including the Awolowo cap, calling themselves “Awoists”; men of straw who forget that faith without works is dead. Today, we have people who call themselves leaders but are only leaders unto their pockets, and have hidden bank accounts outside the country.

We bemoan the fate of Nigeria because we know from whence we have come. The dreams of independence were great because here was a country that would be the America of Africa but today, we lack even the many things that we have in abundance: Is it not the case that Nigeria is reputed to have the highest number of destitutes in the world? Is it not true that Nigeria has one of the highest maternal mortality in this, the 21st Century when women rarely die of childbirth in other parts of the world? In what year have we missed being one of the most corrupt countries in the world?

In this sorry state despite our being among top oil producers in the world, any hope for the future looks bleak as Nigeria is estimated by the United Nations to have 10.1 million out of school children. That is a ticking time bomb.

It’s been 55 years of independence but what have we achieved?

I do not want to preempt the lecture by our able Professor who is highly fit for the task but will like to call on every Nigerian, however, to support President Muhammadu Buhari in the onerous task he has of getting us through the choppy waters ahead because the growth of nationhood is a collective affair.

 

Chief Adebayo Akande, an attorney, industrialist and Chairman of Splash FM, is married to the Ẹ̀kẹ́rin Iyalode of Ibadanland, Chief Nike Akande who once served as Nigeria’s Minister of Industry.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2015. 11:30 a.m. [GMT]

 

 

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