While the celebrant himself expressed concern that Nigeria might likely not mark 100th year independence anniversary together as a corporate union if it continues to handle the issues of education, laws, and religion the way they are at present, a professor of sociology, Lai Olurode, who is also a former National Commissioner of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), lamented the escalating rate of voter apathy and vote-buying, especially as it affects the Southwest region in the last general elections.
In his frank submission, Akande told the august gathering that the country risks not being together as a nation in the next 100 years if it fails to address the issues, he stated above.
Guests at the event included the governor of his home state, Osun, Gbeyega Oyetola, Governor Rotimi Akeedolu of Ondo State, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Gida Mustapha, who was represented by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, representatives of governors of Ogun, Lagos, Ekiti and Oyo, former governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Vice-Chancellor, UNILAG, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, former Chief of Defense Staff, Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd), Dr. Adewale Yagboyaju and Prof. Tunde Babawale of the Department of Political Science (UNILAG), and a representative of the Speaker House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila.
Akande lamented that 50 years ago, Nigeria was most enjoyable, saying it had the freedom of what a true democracy should be, at least individually, but it appears today that everyone now lives in fear.
According to him, “The phenomenon of the country must be examined among three things and the first is our education. It seems to me that our education is colonial. It ends in literacy without numeracy. Education of a community that is not science-based cannot be technologically good and a community without technology cannot be industrial and if you are not industrial you may end up in poverty.
“Secondly, I think our laws are military decree-based and these military decree-based laws cannot be used to sustain democracy. As long as we use these military decree-based laws, our democracy will never prosper. Thirdly, our religions are mostly imported and because of that, we seem neither to be good Christians, good Muslims nor good people. We merely live in fear and when there are problems, we have no laboratories to go; so, we retire to churches and mosques for vigils.
“A country that remains like this may celebrate its 59th independence anniversary, which we are prepared to mark in a few days away from now, but will never celebrate 100 years. I think until all these three issues are looked at and addressed, or let me use the word, restructured – I believe in all these ethnic and political restructuring – but they are difficult to restructure.”
While eulogising the virtues of his predecessor, Governor Oyetola said Akande is a pride to Osun and Nigeria, saying Akande’s life, politics, philosophy, leadership dynamics, and lifestyle accurately exemplify him as an outstanding omoluabi (a true son) and a phenomenon in the nation’s budding democracy.
He said, “Akande represents everything The State of Osun stands for and radiates the honour and statesmanship our nation exudes. Indeed, Chief Bisi Akande is a model for contemporary politicians, youths, and school children, which the nation looks up to as its hope.”
Such development, Olurode stated, does not augur well for the interest of the Southwest geo-political region and urgently needed to be addressed.