Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has berated the political elites for the dwindling state of the nation after years of independence.
Mr Falana, in an interview on Sunday Politics, a programme of Channels Television, blamed the country’s retrogressive situations on the reluctance of its leaders to design its structures.
Nigeria marked its 61st Independence anniversary on October 1.
He said Nigeria’s 61 years journey has been “so far, so bad”, given the fact that countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia who were on the same pedestal as the country in the 1960s have “frog jumped” their third world status to world leading economies.
“So, for the majority of our people, 1960 provided an opportunity to start all over again but, unfortunately, the nationalist politicians, who took over the reins of power from the British colonial regime, did not decolonise the country and the psyche of our people, and all of them retained the colonial structures.
“The laws and ordinances were simply changed to the Act of Parliament. The institutions were left intact,” Mr Falana, who spoke after a Bauchi Senator, Adamu Bulkachuwa, said.
He said the country started missing its opportunity for a better status the moment its political elites started embracing colonial pathways rather than creating its own.
Mr Falana also criticised President Muhammadu Buhari Independence Day broadcast, where he thanked the British for uniting Nigeria, despite the notoriety of the colonial regime for divide and rule approach, a feature that has continued to describe the country’s political landscape.
On the debate for the zoning of the 2023 Presidential ticket by southern and northern political leaders, the lawyer noted that such tussle is divisive and should not be condoned in the political space.
He argued that such debate will further reduce the country’s political development to regional affairs rather than promoting better governance for all.
“Finally, on the presidency, I am very reluctant to join issues with those who want the presidency in the south or north, and I am going to appeal to the media to assist Nigerians to challenge those who are reducing the politics of 2023 to regional affairs.
“We must ask those who want the president and their candidate to address the problems of underdevelopment of our country, what will be your position on VAT? What will be your position on access to education for Nigerian children? What will be your position on going abroad for medical treatment? Unless you ask these questions, you must ask these questions, otherwise, it becomes a question of ‘it is my turn,” Mr Falana said.