Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, says there is nothing much to celebrate about Nigeria’s independence after 61 years, except for the fact that the country has remained self-governed within the period.
He said this on Friday at an event marking this year’s Independence Day at the Alfred Diette-Spiff Civic Centre in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
“Today we have gathered to celebrate the 61st independence anniversary of our beloved nation, Nigeria. For 61 years, we have existed and lived together as one independent nation with our destiny in our hands,” Governor Wike stated.
“But at 61, it does not seem to me that there is anything worthy of our celebration except, perhaps, the fact that we have remained independent and managed to struggle with our existence for all these years.”
He lamented that the country, which was charted by patriotic and visionary leaders to be the greatest black nation with quality human and capital assets, has rather derailed in that vision due to bad leadership, especially in the past six years of the All Progressive Congress-led Federal Government.
According to the governor, the hope of Nigerians for the political leadership to harness the country’s resources to drive economic growth, promote national unity, and protect lives and property is now a mirage, as the Federal Government has weakened the governance structure of the country and its institutions.
He, therefore, called on Nigerians to make efforts to produce better leaders in coming elections.
To achieve that, Governor Wike called for the introduction of electronic voting and transmission of election results, as a way of strengthening the nation’s electoral system to produce quality leaders to accomplish the desires of the citizens.
“Above all, we must defend the basic structures of democracy and good governance by rising up to protect our right to free, fair and credible elections, by demanding for the immediate incorporation of electronic voting and simultaneous transmission of results into our electoral system, which the nation’s electoral management body has repeatedly said it has both the capacity, commitment, and infrastructure to effect, if only the National Assembly would allow,” he said.