Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has said that if Nigeria is to forge ahead in the right direction, then the citizens must be mobilised to take charge of their political destiny.
Falana who was a guest on Newspot’s Sunday Politics said Nigeria has refused to get it right by adopting policies that maintain structures mounted by the British colonialists.
“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 an Act of Parliament. The institutions were left intact,” the senior advocate stated.
While asserting that Nigeria has done badly in the last 61 years, Mr Falana explained that the nation was ahead of many countries in Asia as of 1960, including, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and others.
Some of these countries, he said, have become first-world nations but Nigeria has remained in the third-world.
In his opinion, the divide and rule order which was used by the colonial masters and handed down has only worked to exploit Nigerians and under-develop the nation.
A Dumping Ground?
For Falana, the moment the political class embraced the development paradigm of colonialism and imperialism, the country lost its way.
“Colonialism was in practice for over a hundred years; so, what you would have expected in 1960 was a radical departure from the colonial route that has led to the underdevelopment of our country.
“Unfortunately, when military adventurers in politics took over in 1960, the situation became worse. The country that was trying to practice federalism was turned into a unitary one,” the lawyer asserted.
Falana blamed members of the ruling class which he said have in connivance with imperialism embarked on systematic underdevelopment of the country.
He stated that “abandoning the constitutional model, the constitutional duties of the government, and embracing neo-liberal policies that are subversive of the constitution” have led the nation to where it is at the moment.
According to the senior lawyer, the way forward is to ensure that “our people are mobilised to take the political destiny of our country, their own political destiny, in their own hands, and you’re not going to do that by turning Nigeria into a dumping ground for all manners of boots”.
The senior advocate further stated that to get it right, the people must start forming groups in the country, adding that people must be mobilised to produce food and manufacture goods.
It was his viewpoint that Nigerians must be encouraged to a point that it becomes glaring that the country is truly being run by the people.