Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar(retd) recently had an audience with Journalists in Minna, Niger State during which he spoke on Nigeria at 60, problems facing the country, the role of the citizens in Nation building, fighting corruption, and security. He among others kicked against another Constitutional Conference, saying that it would be a waste of time. Instead, past recommendations should be dusted for implementation. FIRST I congratulate ourselves for coming this far since Independence 60 years ago. Since our independence, Nigeria has been through ups and downs.
There has been a lot of happenings in the country, after the independence, there was a coup in 1966 and there was a counter-coup. Then the military came into power and since then it had been one thing or the other. Of course, during the military incursion, we could see a lot of infrastructural developments that took place in this period and in 1999, there was a change and then, a civilian democratically government came to power. We thank God that for the past 20 years or so, it had been Democracy with elections taking place to the extent that a sitting government was ousted during the election. Well, 60 years ago is just like yesterday. As I said, all along, there had been a lot of developments. We have seen how Highways were constructed in the country, then we had the fortune of having oil discovered in Nigeria and that had been a major source of foreign exchange for this country. And also, in the discovery of oil, there were some related problems that took place in the process with some people in the Niger Delta scrambling for their own part of the benefits of the oil. This agitation during my government made us to give them 33 per cent of the revenue which was allocated to the oil-producing states in the federation. That brought some semblance of peace in the area and we could see some development in the process in the area. Politically, things are stabilizing now. Initially, during the military regime, especially during Babangida’s tenure, two political parties were set up and that gave the ground for the birth of democracy in the country.