Senate Bemoans Nigeria’s Progress at 53.

As the nation prepares for the celebration of its 53rd independence anniversary next Tuesday, the Senate  Thursday reflected on the state of the nation and expressed regret that certain qualities and values which characterised the nation at independence had been lost.
Although they congratulated President Goodluck Jonathan and all Nigerians on the occasion of this year’s anniversary, the senators regretted that leadership qualities exhibited by Nigeria’s founding fathers – Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello – were rarely found today.
Senate President David Mark, in his comment, urged Nigerians to cultivate the habit and nature of true democrats and shelve the attitude of seeking to attain a position by all means as he reasoned that Nigerians need a change of mind and attitude at such a moment like this.
He recalled the old national anthem, which emphasised that irrespective of differences in  tribe and tongue “united we stand,” stating that Nigerians were no longer their brothers’ keepers as was the case.
The Senate President then advised all and sundry to return to such good old days when truth and justice reigned in Nigeria. According to him, “once we have this as our cardinal point, everything will follow.”
Mark, who also said the military, which interrupted Nigeria’s democracy at different times in the past, did so on the invitation of civilians, added that the military should be appreciated for their recent decision not to intervene in Nigerian politics any longer even if they were invited.
Mark was a General in the Nigerian army and was part of the army leadership that ruled Nigeria for years.
While moving a motion on the anniversary, Senate Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, said Nigeria had cause to celebrate having remained a stabilising factor in African sub-region as well as a united, indivisible nation, which he said, had run 14 years of unbroken democracy, the longest in the nation’s history.
Also speaking, Senator Ita Enang, Akwa Ibom North-west, noted that being independent was not just enough, adding that the nation should  demonstrate its ability to sustain its economy as he recalled that a number of factories that were in existence at independence have ceased to function. Enang said that those that were functioning had relocated to neighbouring countries as a result of lack of conducive environment for operations.
He also bemoaned the state of education in the country as well as the rising state of unemployment, especially among university graduates. The Senator recalled that when the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) recently advertised vacancies for employment, as many as six million Nigerians applied for the existing few vacant positions.
In his own contribution, Senator Ganiyu Solomon (Lagos West), urged Nigerian leaders to reflect on the state of the nation stressing that they owe every Nigerian, who was oppressed every sense of responsibility.
In the same vein, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South), urged Nigerians to demonstrate traits of maturity, regretting that whereas the hallmark of true democracy was to disagree without necessarily creating a dissension, the reverse had been the case in Nigeria. According to him, nearly every sense of disagreement often results in violence. He also said a number of Nigerians mistook Jonathan’s ability to listen to every shade of opinion as weakness, saying it was an erroneous conception.