By Akin Akande, Abuja
Worried by what he described as unprecedented level of misfortune that has befallen Nigeria in recent times, Bishop Matthew Kukah on Thursday lamented that all the presidents that have ruled the country since independence came by accident.
This was as two human right activists, Ms Ann-Kio Briggs and Femi Falana also tongue- lashed the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, describing it as a government without hope for the Nigerian people.
Speaking at the 10th Daily Trust Dialogue with the theme “nation building: challenges and reality”, Kukah warned that no matter the conspiracy problem the nation is facing, “nobody is going to build the country for us,” adding that the sovereign conference some people are agitating for is nothing but a romantic idea.
He disagreed with those comparing Nigeria with other countries that have overtaken the country in terms of development, saying that these countries being compared with Nigeria have not experienced coups like Nigeria.
The revered priest warned those advocating revolution in the country to have a rethink saying “no revolution is going to take place in this country.
There are many reasons why it will not happen and that is our source of strength. We must trace the history of our dislocation in this country and we must identify what the previous leaders have done and build on it. People that said we cannot progress without a sovereign conference, is a romantic idea.”
The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Aminu Tambuwal warned those in positions of leadership to know that leaders hold their positions not by any divine law, but by the leave of the people, adding they are only leaders by proxy.
He said: “This fact is a common knowledge. But since we are talking about the reality of nation building, we must agree that more often than not we leaders behave as if the people owed us rather than the other way round.
Once we get power, we become selfish and arrogant and forget that we are servants of the people and not masters of the universe.
“This is the fundamental cause of our leadership crisis. Although we see daily proof that power is transient, it has not tempered our predisposition to misuse the opportunity when afforded us; and to squander the public’s goodwill on the altar of greed.”
Briggs on her part questioned the rationale behind the celebration of the 100 years of Nigeria, adding that there is nothing to celebrate as Nigeria is full of corruption.
She said that the people in power accept criminality and hooliganism, noting that corruption has eaten the fabric of the nation to the extent that Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) now looks as a debt collector.
“Government spending our money to celebrate 100 years is nothing, there is nothing to celebrate. God did not put Nigeria together; it was Lord Luggard that put Nigeria together.
The challenges Nigeria face in building a nation will remain elusive because we are not yet prepare to develop as a nation. There is distrust in the country and that needs to be addressed. The 1999 Constitution is a false document, we need to sit down and come out with a document with mutual respect for one another.
“Fraud is rampart and the so call political elites will not do without rigging election. Government of today is a government the people put in place and which the people are ashamed of,” she said.
Falana said that no presidency and governor’s forum can tell Nigerians how much oil the nation produce a day, adding that they only protect the interest of the imperialist.
He said: “Nation building in Nigeria is in crisis. The problem of Nigeria is impunity. Pirates have taken over power in Africa particularly Nigeria, so much so that some people are dangerously rich and many Nigerians are dangerously very poor.
Nigeria is a country of paradox; it has crude oil but poor refinery. If federal government does not address the problems in the country, the nation will be faced with serious crisis to the extent that what happened in 2011 will be a child’s play.
By Akin Akande, Abuja