Enugu residents celebrating Nigeria’s 55th independence anniversary have made a passionate appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State to come up with programmes that will in short time make direct impact in the lives of poverty-stricken citizens.
According to the commentators, the masses have had enough suffering and hardship, even in the face of enormous wealth bandied about by fellow citizens.
A Public affairs analyst and company director, Chief Walter Chukwujindu, prayed for a new lease of life for the downtrodden, and the working class who according to him, “live today without the hope of waking up tomorrow.”
Chukwujindu, who described himself as a young Zikist, stated that the masses of Nigeria and the workforce had been shortchanged by a system that ignores integrity, dignity of labour and promotes sharp practices in all facets of the polity. “Except something positive happens soon, and in fact, very soon, my take is that the labour of Nigeria’s heroes past has become vanity.
“The poor people need government attention now more than the ceremonial cutting of Independence anniversary cake and all the speeches being aired here and there.
“Please tell them that hunger does not listen to Independence anniversary speech.
“Tell them that workers deserve their wages, to pay their rent, pay school fees, pick their bills and prepare their minds for anniversary broadcasts and cutting of cakes,” Chukwujindu stated.
He however expressed the optimism that the new crops of leaders would not let Nigerians down.
In his contribution, the Deputy Speaker of the Enugu House of Assembly, Hon. Donatus Jascolo Uzogbado, stated that hope should not be lost, believing that, “there is light at the end of the tunnel.” Apparently referring to the sufferings of the past, Hon. Uzogbado remarked that at no other time should Nigeria be better celebrated.
According to him, “This is the best time to celebrate Nigeria. Irrespective of our differences, we are still able to trudge on in unity at a time when other nations are engrossed in consuming conflicts.”
Hon. Uzogbado continued: “In Enugu state, the celebration should be endless because God in his mercy gave us a rare gem as Governor in the person Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. “
The immediate past Attorney-General of Enugu State, Barrister Anthony Ani (SAN), contended that despite security challenges all over the country, Nigeria was celebrating the longest democratic process or institution since independence.
“The democratic culture is deepening, considering the smooth transition from a ruling party to an opposition party,” Barrister Anthony Ani noted.
The former Attorney-General said that the signs are already manifesting, an indication that the democracy would be sustained.
A medical practitioner, Dr. Innocent Onwumere, was a bit skeptical. Said he about the 55th independence celebration: “There should be celebration, only to the extent that Nigeria is 55 and remains one entity contrary to the expectations of many.”
Onwumere however made it clear that Nigeria has little or nothing to show in terms of solid achievements over the years, no thanks to bad and insensitive successive governments.
He told The UNION in reaction to the celebration that the government should do the needful and give the poor a sense of belonging.
Onwumere concluded by saying: “We are watching President Muhammadu Buhari.”
Also speaking, former Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Professor Cletus Akubuilo, stated that Nigerians should celebrate with expectations under Buhari’s administration. Akubuilo prayed God to bequeath a culture of peace, unity and prosperity for Nigerians. The professor of Agriculture said Nigeria has an enviable place in the world, so long there is peace and tranquillity.
However, in spite of the hard times, the Coal City witnessed movement of people who went about in droves, celebrating the independence anniversary.
Masquerades of different colours and sizes siezed the opportunity of the celebration to showcase themselves.
– Amah Baldwin