This year’s independence anniversary would be marked amid great worry over the state of the polity.

On that day, the country will be commemorating the 53rd anniversary of its independence from British colonial rule. It will also mark its 50th year as a republic.
But watching the riotous scenes relayed to the world from the National Assembly on Wednesday, barely one week to the independence day on October 1, it seems clear that Nigerians would be celebrating amid anxious forebodings about where their country is headed.
The unruly session at the Senate that Wednesday had been planned as a solemn occasion to eulogise the former governor of Ondo State, Chief Olusegun Agagu, who died on September 13.
But it turned violent when one of the speakers, Senator Danjuma Goje, made reference to the factional crisis plaguing the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and introduced himself as a member of the New PDP.
This is a splinter group within PDP formed by some key members of the party who had staged a walkout during its special national convention on August 31.
Goje had touched a raw nerve when he mentioned the division within PDP, a subject that is arousing dangerous public interest ahead of the 2015 presidential election.
A challenge from Senator Smart Adeyemi was, quite expectedly, all it took to reduce an otherwise serious legislative session to a battlefield of shouting and heckling between pro and anti-presidency senators.
The House of Representatives had its own bouts of the 2015 presidential election fight penultimate Tuesday.
That was when a delegation of the New PDP, led by its chairman, Abubakar Baraje, and the seven governors of Adamawa, Sokoto, Niger, Rivers, Kano, Kwara, and Jigawa states, who had staged the walkout on that August 31, went to address the PDP caucus in the House.
All these are as the country anxiously awaits the October 7 date for the resumption of talks to try to resolve the ruling party’s turmoil. The prognosis, certainly, does not look good.
The dicey political atmosphere is heightened by the judicial pronouncement on the disagreement between the Bamanga Tukur-led PDP and Baraje-led New PDP, which has turned out to be no more than a vague order on the maintenance of the status quo.
Both sides in the PDP crisis have interpreted the status quo here differently and enforced the Lagos State High Court order to suit their diverse aims.
The result is an obvious rule of the might, where the New PDP elements have seemed to be up against PDP’s monopoly of the coercive instruments of the Nigerian state under the command of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Definitely, Jonathan seems desperate about 2015, but he lacks much of the goodwill that had earned him almost nationwide approval in 2011. So his usual rhetoric regarding his humble persona and “breath of fresh air” is not selling among the masses any longer.
Realistically, however, the Jonathan administration has made progress in some areas. But this falls far short of the expectation that greeted his ascension to power in 2011. Political corruption has remained widespread.
Nigeria was ranked 139th out of 176 countries in Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perception Index, to place 35th on the list of the world’s most corrupt countries.
It tied with Azerbaijan, Kenya, Nepal, and Pakistan. But Nigeria made marginal gains, from 143 out of 183 countries surveyed by TI in 2011, and 134 out of 178 countries surveyed in 2010.
Troublingly, however, the country was ranked the eighth most corrupt country in the world in this year’s Global Corruption Barometer released by Transparency International in July.
Eighty-four percent of those surveyed said corruption had increased in the last two years, 75 percent said government had not been effective in fighting corruption.
The report listed institutions perceived to be most corrupt in Nigeria to include the Nigeria Police, political parties, the legislature, the civil service, and the judiciary.
TI wrote on its website, “The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 draws on a survey of more than 114, 000 respondents in 107 countries.
It addresses people’s direct experiences with bribery and details their views on corruption in the main institutions in their countries. It also provides insights into people’s willingness to stop corruption.”
A corruption survey study published in June 2003 by the Institute for Development Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, had listed institutions perceived to be most corrupt in Nigeria as the Nigeria Police, political parties, national and state assemblies, local and municipal governments, federal and state executive councils, traffic police and the Federal Road Safety Corps, and the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.
The oil and gas sector has also seen much corruption.A recent report by the think tank Chatham House said Nigeria’s crude oil was being “stolen on an industrial scale,” with the country losing an estimated $5 billion in revenue annually.
The fuel subsidy fraud that rankled the country greatly last year has seemed to decline to nothingness without much impact on the anticorruption war.
In the last one year, the politics of the 2015 presidential election has tended to be the main preoccupation of the federal government, with impunity and intraparty squabbles as its hallmark.
Impunity remains a menace seared into the minds of the country’s politicians, many of whom favour imposition over democratic choice. In the ruling PDP, Jonathan has dug in his heels, expecting the whole country to see politics from his own perspective.
As Nigeria marks 53 years of independence, an enormous amount of worry pricks the country and engages the hearts of citizens.
The best anniversary gift the Jonathan administration can give the country, therefore, is a sincere effort to address the multifarious issues troubling the polity, not the penchant for playing politics with every issue ahead of 2015.