Elder statesman and pre-Independence politician, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has regretted that for the abortion of the dream envisioned by the nation’s founding fathers, Nigeria would have by now attained the status of a true giant of Africa.
In a message, Tuesday, to mark the 94th birthday of his friend and fellow member of the Zikist Movement, Chief Dara Mbazulike Ameachi, Yakassai blamed the woes of the country on the sudden intervention of the military in the politics of Nigeria.
“Things have been deteriorating with each passing day. From the time when the military decided to truncate our journey to true democracy in 1966, to this very moment, our country has since been practically under military rule either in uniform or in mufti” held Yakasai who recently celebrated his 92nd birthday.
He lamented that “in the country today, treasury looters are openly decorated with public offices, our judiciary is thoroughly intimidated, resulting in some judges becoming eager to do the bidding of those in power.”
He added that “unlike in the olden days, love for your country is no longer the criterion for national respect. People in power are in the forefront of disrespecting the judicial pronouncements.”
He admitted that “our younger generations are not encouraged to imbibe the spirit of patriotism and sacrifice, rather they are made to believe that greatness lies in how quick they can get rich by whatever means.
“Unlike many other countries at the same level with our nation at the time of our independence, Nigeria is now left far behind in almost every aspect of human development,” he cried.
According to him, “patriotism which inspires people to make sacrifices in the interest of their country has been undermined. Political party system, which is meant to be the training ground for leadership cadres, as well as articulating policy for national development and progress, is turned into a mere debating society for individuals who aspire for leadership position out of selfishness and aggrandizement.
While recalling the golden past, he held that during their days as members of the Zikist Movement, they had a dream of an “Independent Nigeria free from foreign domination, an egalitarian nation in which all citizens will enjoy freedom and fundamental human right.”
He recalled that the Zikist Movement, headed by Habib Raji Abdallah, an Ebira man from northern Nigeria, and had Mokugo Okoye and D. C. Ugwu,, Yahaya Adda, Chief Abagu Magaji Dambatta, Olu Fayemi, Kolawole Balogun, Ahaji Ishaq Adewale, including Umaru Altine, a Sokoto man resident in eastern Nigeria who was the first to be twice elected as the Mayor of Enugu, also had a dream of “a nation where all shall be equal before the law and a Nigeria of abundant opportunities, where every citizen will have an opportunity to pursue his ambition to the highest of his abilities.”
As far as the elder statesman is concerned, “the task ahead is to take this country back to the original trajectory so as to enable us to re-connect with the vision of our founding fathers and continue our journey to greatness.”
He challenged the present generation to tackle these numerous challenges with all the strength at their disposal, if Nigeria is to survive and make progress in the direction that was dreamt by the founding fathers of this country.