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TO APPRECIATE WHAT INDEPENDENCE TRULY STANDS FOR, ASK NELSON MANDELA

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MandelaDayo Saka Fafunmi

A member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Dayo Saka Fafunmi has urged Nigerians to always appreciate the nation’s independence anniversary.

He said that the anniversary should be celebrated and remembered as it marked the beginning of progress for the country.

According to him, “people might not appreciate independence; the true definition of independence can be explained by people like the former South African leader and acclaimed freedom fighter, Dr. nelson Mandela. Celebration of independence is important only to those, who understand the meaning of independence. Unfortunately, those who fought for the independence of Nigeria such as the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Anthony Enahoro are not alive to tell us the full story of our independence.”

On the proposed constitutional conference, Fafunmi said that Nigerians should be allowed to air their views on critical issues and that it is doubtful if the Constitutional Conference Committee, headed by Senator Femi Okunrounmu would be given a free hand to operate.

“It is not good enough if the President would be the one to appoint the members of the constitutional conference. Each geo-political zone should be allowed to freely elect their representatives to the conference. Our party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), will come up with our position on the issue and President Jonathan’s name would be written in gold if he listens to the wishes of the opposition, especially APC,” he said.

Fafunmi further said that anyone who is not highly optimistic would not see anything good in Nigeria in the last 53 years of her independence.

He stressed that, when one looks into the past and the present, he would agree that Nigeria has been able to successfully move from a nation being ruled by colonial masters to self-government, which he said is worthy of celebration.

Fafunmi, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts (Local), explained that Nigeria was forced together by the amalgamation of 1914 and that smaller countries in Europe have broken into three, five or even seven countries whereas Nigeria has over 250 ethnic groups with different languages and that it still remains as a country.

“How many countries can we break into, but because we have been able to manage ourselves over the years, let us look at the gains of democracy, where we are coming from. I believe that the path of national development might be hard; the pains cannot obliterate the gains of our independence. In the past, it was difficult to send mails or letters, now internet is everywhere, telephone is everywhere, we cannot say we are on the same spot,” he stated.

He maintained that more than we were at independence, Nigeria is now more technology-driven with accessibility to internet and social media, an average Nigerian citizen can stand at par with his or her counterpart global citizen anywhere any day. “Perhaps, one of the things that make it difficult for us to believe we have made some progress is the ease of comparism with the developed world, forgetting that they were once like us. USA, for instance, gained independence more than two hundred years ago,” he stated.

The lawmaker added that inspite of all these gains; we are not where we ought to be, we have not leveraged on our opportunities arising from poor planning and bad governance.

“Decay of infrastructural facilities, especially with respect to federal roads. Most of the federal roads were constructed in the early years of independence, and as at today, they remain unattended to. In the 1970s, our educational institution competed favourably with the developed ones, but today, ASUU is not only on strike, but the educational standard itself has falling. Graduates find it difficult to read and write,” he added.

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