– The Ohaneze Ndigbo has said the future of Nigeria is bleak
– The apex Igbo group said the constitution is not working because it was imposed by the military
– It called for discussion in order to make the country better
The Ohaneze Ndigbo has noted that the future of Nigeria is bleak and that the effect of the Biafra civil war has continued to linger thereby affecting the political relationship of each region. Daily Post reports that John Nwodo who is the president-general of the apex Igbo group revealed this at the 90th birthday lecture for Chief Edwin Clark in Abuja.
He said the present constitution in use was imposed on the country by the military and that discussions needed to be held on the future of Nigeria. He said: “Our law and order system including the police, the court system and the penal system has been characterised by impunity, incompetence and indiscipline.
“On the global Terrorism Index Nigeria ranks 3rd after Iraq and Afghanistan and ahead of Pakistan and Syria. The World Economic Forum ranks Nigeria 127 out of 138 on the Global Competitiveness Index. The UNESCO ranks Nigeria with Chad, Pakistan and Ethiopia as the worst educational system in the world.
“Nigeria, according to the report, has the highest number of children out of school and one of the world’s worst education systems due to a combination of corruption, conflict and lack of investment. “In the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Program, Nigeria ranks 152 out of 188 countries and is the lowest among OPEC countries.
The data points to a bleak future as we march to post-oil world without a coherent plan to reduce conflict and build a new national consensus. “On the positive side, there is a global consensus that Nigeria is highly potentiated. With a population of about 182 million people, by current estimates; and with our vast mineral and material resources; a well-organized Nigeria should be a land of plenty that supports its people and a leader in the comity of nations. Sadly, this is not the case.
“Almost every Nigerian is agreed that Nigeria is not working but there is no clear consensus on why; or on what to do about it. Some say that it is merely a problem of leadership and once that is fixed all other things will fall in place. Others say that it is a problem of corruption. Once you tackle that, everything will be fine. “Others have said that our problem is one of law and order; some say it is more fundamental and has to do with control of resources, structure of the Federation and thus requires more equitable sharing of revenue and the devolution of powers.
“Others say it can be fixed with power rotation and a more level playing field. It has been said that it could be a bit of all of the above; and that Nigeria cannot be fixed without a fundamental change of values and attitudes. Whatever the case, it will not profit us to pretend that we do not face existential challenges “These challenges are worrisome; especially to our younger ones who must face the fact that the next 50 years could be even more challenging and there is a good chance that we could be left behind if we fail to take action today.
“It is estimated in some quarters, that by 2050 could be the 4th most populous country in the world. That means Nigeria, which is just twice the size of Texas; would be more populous than all the United States of America. Meanwhile, as of today, we have a GDP that is barely 2% of that of the United States. “At the same time, in the years ahead, we could face very severe ecological challenges that will impact negatively on our economy. The desert is encroaching southwards at a speed of up to 6 km per annum.
“Thus within 33 years we could lose about 200 km of land to the desert – across the north. This can only exacerbate competition for arable land in the north and elsewhere with dire political consequences.
“We must become more responsive to the world around us, or we and our children will be left behind. These are some of the fears and anxieties of our youths. We have for too long allowed the bitterness of the war and its lingering feelings to dictate our political relationships. “The coalition that fought the war is still in control of Nigeria engaging in rhetoric that fuelled the war in managing renascent Nigeria. The young men and women who were not part of the war are frustrated by this impasse.”
Meanwhile, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo made a dispassionate call for the nation to stay united, despite the renewed agitation for a breakup and the creation of an independent state of Biafra as led by the likes of Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the protests by the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
While speaking at the Biafra at 50 event held at the Yar’Adua centre, Abuja on Thursday, May 25, Osinbajo said Nigerians should think more of what unites them than what separates them. He said: “No country is perfect; around the world we have seen and continue to see expressions of intra-national discontent.
“The truth is that many, if not most nations of the world are made up of different peoples and cultures and beliefs and religions, who find themselves thrown together by circumstance.”