In remarks after Nigeria's 51st independence anniversary celebrations at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, the President of Nigeria during the Second Republic, spoke about the challenges facing Nigeria, expressed optimism that Nigeria will emerge stronger after overcoming the challenges and said that this was enough reason to celebrate Nigeria's 51st independence anniversary.
Speaking to journalists he said, â€śI disagree with those who say we have nothing to celebrate. It is not easy to attain 51 years of age. Mr. President has now garnered a lot of experience. Since experience, they say, is the best teacher, we cannot solve problems without good experience and now Nigeria is not now to these problems againâ€ť
â€śWe are a great nation. You can only claim to be great when you are confronted with challenges of this nature and you overcome them. I do not think having overcome other challenges, these ones will hold us down. We are happyâ€ť.
He also spoke about the current security situation in Nigeria and described it as â€śunfortunate" He added, â€śDuring our time, we were very lucky that we did not have to contend with this kind of security challenges. What is happening is unfortunate but we shall overcome just the way we overcame all other challenges as a nation.
â€śIn each case, when there were problems, we managed somehow to overcome them and, by the grace of God, there is nothing that will stop us from our progress. Nigeria is progressing, whether anybody likes it or notâ€ť.
"The views and opinions expressed in these comment(s) or article(s) do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of NGEX, its partners or its affiliates."
OMOTAYO, J. A. Lagos, NIGERIA October 11, 2011
Mr. Shagari's remark was normal for an ex-president of a nation. But to write that his achievement while in office was monumental and unparalleled was to falsify historical records. First, when the then Nigerian External Communications head office complex was on fire and many workers were trapped in the tower, our Mr. Shagari got the news but chose to travel to India to receive a honorary doctorate degree.
Second, when he embarked upon the FCT & Abuja project, many NPN members became pseudo-contractors / suppliers and got mobilisation / advance payments running into millions (today's billions) of Naira without executing the contracts. Yet he never instituted a probe / investigation.
Third, the election he organised in 1983 caused mayhem in the Yoruba South-West, especially the then Ondo State. Fourth, if Mr. Shagari's achievement was that remarkable why the military coup of Dec 31, 1983 against his government? I can list up to ten issues but I wish to stop. God save Nigeria.
DARLINGTON ABA, NIGERIA October 11, 2011
you politicians and you leaders, you say that nigeria is good, yes i agree with you and you say again that whether we like it or not that our country nigeria is progressing. yes, i also agree with you but i wonder why you people answer leaders i cannot see anything signifying that you people are leaders and also no atom human sympathy in you peoples why i am saying this is because in my state (ABIA STATE) we dont have any road in ABIA.
I dont need to expose the man that called himself our governor but i must do that because we are suffering in ABIA. We just need gods interveuntion because our notouriose governor is not compitent in constrution of our road because he dont care . Pls mr president we need your help in our state because we are totally in bondage suffering.
JOSEPH LAGOS, NIGERIA October 06, 2011
Kazeem, read your comment again and judge yourself. Let's agree you cannot respect status. You proved you cannot respect age as well. You are an epitome of moral decadence.
Ex-President Shagari is highly respected by all well meaning Nigerians. His achievements while in government is yet to be marched by any other person. The golden age that Larry Jone cited in his own comment was during Shagari's tenure. I look back at those days with nostalgia. Then, there was economic boom, positive values and national consciousness. Then was, perhaps, the only time that Nigeria was truly united.
kazeem kaduna, nigeria October 04, 2011
i dnt blame u shagari, u go soon enter ur grave if GOD ask u dat do we ve course to celebrate then tel GOD yes.
U knw jonathan and ur fellow thief wil nt b there to defend u, i guess u shall b in trouble then old fool!!
"Coming In From The Cold" In California, U.S.A. October 04, 2011
Alhaji Shehu Shagari can disagree as much as he wants, but it is true that Nigeria has nothing, nada, zilch, zero to celebrate. Chief Obafemi Awolowo must be turning in his grave now after â€śhearingâ€ť what the former 12-2/3 President had to say.
Is sheer attainment of 51 years of independence without any achievement a thing to celebrate? Or is it our disunity in spurious unity, without actually splintering, a big deal? All I know is that Nigeria is worse than how it was left for us by the British in 1960. Letâ€™s thank the British for the setup for us to fail, but we canâ€™t keep blaming them forever. Itâ€™s not what people do or would like to do to you that matters; itâ€™s what you do about it. But â€śjaga-jagaâ€ť Nigeria will â€śskata-skataâ€ť sooner or later, no doubt in my mind. We are only buying time.
Itâ€™s no gainsaying that the northern leadership destroyed Nigeria, period. Of course they got help from the south too due to greed. They say if you canâ€™t beat them, you join them; so the greedy, leaderless, visionless, southerners joined in exacerbating the problem and dragging the whole country down. The few who had vision and common sense, like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Pa Enahoro, Chief Bola Ige, etc., were destroyed. The discipline and leadership that a fledgling country like Nigeria needed to forge ahead were not there. Power got into the hands of nonentities without foresight.
Then there was the Nzeogwu coup that threw the monkey wrench into the whole equation. I really donâ€™t think that coup was necessary at that time in our countryâ€™s life, but even if necessary, it was poorly managed due to self-centered motives. One should be selfless when taking an action on behalf of a nation. A warrior should act as a warrior and damn any consequences, even if he would personally encounter a big loss, even death, when taking an action on his countryâ€™s behalf. We call people like that heros.
I donâ€™t want to leave any bad taste in anyoneâ€™s mouth but when Sadauna, Balewa, Akintola were all eliminated in the Nzeogwu coup, it leaves much to be desired when Okpara was allowed to escape and Azikwe was not even in the country when it all happened. That created distrust in the intention, execution and outcome of the coup, and a counter coup was so easy.
I once told a friend who thinks I am crazy or callous that, if for example I am the one giving the order in a plan to eliminate a terrible dictator like Abacha and I have information that Abacha is in a rare but vulnerable location where we can really get him, and I find out last minute that my own mother is at the same location at that time, I will not fail my country in giving the order to do whatever is necessary, even if I stand a very high chance of losing my own mother. Thatâ€™s the action befitting of a hero or a brave man. What about if the woman was another personâ€™s mother, would my action have been ok? No! Donâ€™t forget the circumstances under which Fajuyi gave his own life. Thatâ€™s a hero to me.
Only God knows where Nigeria would have been today if that coup did not take place but I believe there would have been a different coup later anyway. So, we cannot blame it all on the Nzeogwu coup.
But in hindsight, I call the Nzeogwu coup the beginning of the wrong turn for Nigeria. My sense tells me Nigeria made the wrong turn, not because of the coup, but the way it was carried out. But what or who can we actually blame for this wrong turn? Did we ask for Independence before we were actually ready for it, or did we just mismanage our new found freedom to rule ourselves? After all, the north was not ready for independence, but they latched on to it and terrorized the hell out of the rest of the country.
I could go on and on but Iâ€™ll the rest for another day.
Before I go, Iâ€™ll like to let Alhaji Shehu Shagari know that he was just beating about the bush and we all know Nigeria actually retrogressed since independence. To me, we did not achieve a damn thing. Nigeria is nothing short of a hellhole.
Thatâ€™s one thing about these northerners; they stick together much better than southerners and would rarely blame each or one another in public. I believe Alhaji Shehu Shagari has even forgiven Buhari for overthrowing him. I have said it before, and Professor Wole Soyinka also said it recently that Nigeria is practicing the wrong system of government that does not augur well with our culture, rule of law mentality, behavior, ways of looking at things, etc. This must change to move ahead.