Country Director of ActionAid, Nigeria, Ene Obi, has called on Nigerians to use the 61st anniversary of Nigeria’s independence to reflect on the journey so far and rise to alter the narratives of Corruption and insecurity.
Obi made the call on Friday in Lokoja in an interview on the sidelines of the passing out ceremony for ActionAid organised 2021 Peace Camp for 500 Kogi youths trained in peace building and acquisition of skills.
She said that with the nation grappling with such myriad of challenges at 61 years of existence as a sovereign state, Nigerians need to reflect, saying, “We really need to rethink.”
“We are calling on every Nigerian whether you are a leader or a follower, to just stand upright for Nigeria. We are saying that we can only get it right if we are leading aright.
“I think corruption is a cankerworm in the Nigerian system. The looting of the economy is responsible for our not having enough resources to provide public good.
“The insanity level that makes people to steal needs to be addressed, we need to come back and remove that insanity, return to sanity for all and everyone should rededicate themselves to Nigeria,” she said.
Obi held that for the country to advance and make the desired impact, the leadership must ensure strict enforcement and adherence to the constitution and extant laws with appropriate sanctions meted out to violators.
“You know, sanctions need to be meted in the course of social justice. We have to be able to respect the laws, we have to be able to respect the rights of the people and the way you create role models is when you have the elders standing up for Nigeria.
“The Constitution of Nigeria is there to guide us. You say, ‘Arise o Compatriots’. The pledge that we introduce to the young people, if adults are not upholding it, what are we telling the young people?
“So, we are asking them to stand upright for Nigeria. We are standing up as ActionAid and we are asking everyone of you, the media and all citizens of Nigeria to stand upright for Nigeria,” Obi said.
On achievements of the nation at 61, Obi noted that achievements are in different parentheses, saying that though the nation has moved up at different levels, there are spheres the country could still do much more.
She identified some areas the country could improve to include enforcement of laws and sanctions, gender equality, representation of women on decision making platforms among others.
“We are having conflicts all over the place and the bearers of the burden, conflict and gender-based violence are women but you hardly have the women in places where decisions are taken.
“The quality of any decision depends on who is in the boardroom and so, if the women are not there, how can you take decisions on the behalf of a woman who is in labour since you cannot experience labour?
“So all of you men cannot take decisions for women because you don’t know how it feels to be in labour when a baby is trying to come out,” she said. (NAN)