Nigeria Marks 21 Years of Uninterrupted Civilian Rule on 60th Independence Day

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, in his message to commemorate the country’s 60th Independence early on Thursday October 1, expressed concern that the major opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was constantly criticizing his government, despite his being able to clear the mess the party created since he assumed power in 2015.

Buhari in an early morning message to Nigerians slammed the PDP for not looking at how the party ruled the country from 1999 to 2015, adding that the little he had been able to do since he assumed power was more noticeable to what the previous PDP governments did.

 

President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari

 

“No government in the past did what we are doing with such scarce resources. We have managed to keep things going in spite of the disproportionate spending on security. Those in the previous Governments from 1999 – 2015 who presided over the near destruction of the country have now the impudence to attempt to criticize our efforts,” Mr. Buhari told Nigerians.

He said his government will not relent in doing what is considered right in the face of dwindling resources at its disposal. According to him, “In these circumstances, a responsible government must face realities and take tough decisions”.

The President made bold to defend his government’s action to deregulate the petroleum downstream sector which led to the government not interfering in fixing the prices of petrol. To him, the price of petrol is relatively lower in Nigeria compare to some other countries in the world.

“Petroleum prices in Nigeria are to be adjusted. We sell now at N161 per litre. A comparison with our neighbours will illustrate the point; Chad which is an oil-producing country charges N362 per litre. Niger, also an oil-producing country sells 1 litre at N346. In Ghana, another oil-producing country, petroleum pump price is N326 per litre. Further afield, Egypt charges N211 per litre. Saudi Arabia charges N168 per litre. It makes no sense for oil to be cheaper in Nigeria than in Saudi Arabia.

“Today, I am aware that our economy along with every single economy in the world is in crisis. We still face security challenges in parts of the country, while our society suffers from a high loss of moral rectitude which is driven by unbridled craving for political control.

“An underlying cause of most of the problems we have faced as a nation is our consistent harping on artificially contrived fault-lines that we have harboured and allowed unnecessarily to fester.

“In addition, institutions such as civil service, police, the judiciary, the military all suffered from a general decline.

“We need to begin a sincere process of national healing and this anniversary presents a genuine opportunity to eliminate old and outworn perceptions that are always put to test in the lie they always are.

“The stereotype of thinking of ourselves as coming from one part of the country before seeing ourselves as Nigerians is a key starting point to project us on the road to our deserved nation’s evolution and integration.

“To start this healing process, we are already blessed with the most important asset any nation requires for such – our people – and this has manifested globally in the exploits of Nigerians in many fields.

“It has been demonstrated time and time again that Nigerians in the diaspora frequently excel in science, technology, medicine, sports, arts and many other fields.

“Similarly, the creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness of the Nigerian at home have resulted in globally recognized endeavours.

“I am convinced that if we pursue our aspirations together, we would be able to achieve whatever we desire. That informed our adopting the theme together to mark this epochal event.

“Together we can change our condition for the better and more importantly, together we can do much more for ourselves and for our country.

“Fellow Nigerians, to achieve the great country we desire, we need to solidify our strength, increase our commitment and encourage ourselves to do that which is right and proper even when no one is watching.

“Let us collectively resolve to continue our journey beyond the sixty years on the clear understanding that as a nation, we are greater together than being smaller units of nationalities. By the special grace of God, we shall come through any transient challenges.

“It is my sincere hope that by the end of this anniversary on September 30th, 2021, we will all be proud of taking this individual and collective self-assessment for the progress of our great nation”.

During a presentation before the US Congress subcommittee on foreign affairs, Wednesday, September 30, Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate for International Affairs for Africa at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) expressed joy that for almost two decades, Nigeria has been under uninterrupted civilian rule. This is considered remarkable progress for a country with a history of coups and countercoups.

Nigeria is today being seen more and more like a democracy with no military takeover occurring again since 1999, however, the decades under military rule have had a resounding impact on the nation. All 36 states today were created by the military and there is still always a considerable military influence evident.