Many prominent Nigerians and former leaders have joined to mark the country’s Independence Anniversary, with some saying that a lot still remains to be achieved as the nation clocks 56 years.
They spoke to Channels Television while at the commemoration of Nigeria’s 56th Independence Anniversary which took place at the forecourt of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Former Vice President of Nigeria, Alex Ekwueme, particularly was not impressed by the state of the nation, 56 years after independence.
He condemned the level of violence in different parts of the country and berated authorities for not doing enough to ensure peace and national integration.
“Nigeria as we speak now is not a nation, by contrast, our neighbour, Ghana, is a nation.
“There’s a very big difference between a nation and a country.
“In a nation you have a sense of nationhood, in a country, you just acquire a geographical space without a sense of nationhood.
“The type of things that happen in different parts of Nigeria, like killing of people from other parts of the country will never happen in Ghana.
“There is nothing being positively done about national integration and you cannot have a nation just by wishful thinking, you have to work for it,” he said.
For others, however, the fact that the country has remained a united nation despite the difficulties, is enough to celebrate as they encouraged Nigerians to be positive.
Former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, admitted that Nigeria is indeed faced with a lot of challenges but noted that it remains a nation.
He explained: “A nation is what the people make it. Nobody is going to come and build a nation for us, we have to do it ourselves.
“So many people take delight in criticizing, yes it is good to criticize but you also have to offer solutions.”
Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Rtd), also supported the call for Nigerians to get involved in nation-building.
“I think we have come a long way (and) things are improving gradually. Although we have problems here and there, I think we are heading in the right direction.
If all Nigerians put hands on deck, then we will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Congratulations to all Nigerians,” he said.
For former Vice President, Namadi Sambo, there has been tremendous progress in Nigeria since its independence in 1960 and former Chief of General Staff, Gen. Oladipo Diya (Rtd) also agreed.
He said that most Nigerians are conscious of
the fact that there is a lot to be done but “we are making progress”.