Nigeria at 60: ‘We have nothing to celebrate’ A’Ibom NUT Chairman

The Akwa Ibom State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers [NUT] has declared that, at 60 years, the country has nothing to celebrate as it
has continued to watch her citizens killed and destroyed in the North Eastern part of the country.

This assertion was expressed by the state chairman of the body, Comrade Etim Ukpong, while speaking with our reporter in Uyo, on Tuesday.

Ukpong who is a grade one Principal in the state secondary school system, further blamed the nation’s leaders for the unabated killings that have been carried out over the years.

“At 60 Nigeria has nothing to celebrate. Are you going to celebrate the killing in some parts of the country? Are you going to celebrate the impunity on the part of those doing these things? Are we going to celebrate the complete lack of interest of government on the killing
of its citizens by foreigners as they say?

“Just few days ago, Southern Kaduna people were protesting and openly calling for separation from Kaduna state, openly accusing federal and state governments of aiding their woes. So for me, openly celebrating Nigeria at 60 is like raising impunity to a glorious level. People are
dying and you are celebrating. What are you celebrating,” he queried.

On the growth of the educational system over the years, the NUT chairman, regretted that the stagnated educational curriculum in the
country has continued to promote capital flight as Nigeria has continued to pay lip service to technological development..

“The whites managed education very well to achieve their goal. They did not want Nigeria to become a technologically advanced nation. They
just wanted clerks and interpreters to help run government. So, all the first generation universities that they helped us establish were
almost humanities Universities.”

And continuing he said, “But after sometime we saw the need for a change, we came out with the national policy for education, but the implementation was poor, policymaking could not fit into the need of our society and nobody was really interested in looking at those drawbacks, we kept turning in generations of students who came out to look for government jobs.”

He regretted the harsh treatment recently meted on University lecturers by the federal government which led to the ongoing
nationwide strike and charged government to stop paying lip service to the development of the education sector

Commenting on the nation’s economy, the NUT boss said, “We were able to reduce foreign debts to a level where we had debt forgiveness;
today our understanding of the economy is to go and borrow. Once we have a little challenge, the next thing we do is go and borrow. Who is
going to pay all these debts?”

He noted further that power was frequently interrupted while the President was delivering his 60th anniversary speech consider such a huge
shame on a 60 year old nation, which in a man’s world would be considered an elder in achievement, wisdom and experience.
“Imagine, those who claimed they would fix power in six months haven’t been able to do anything five years later. So I would say that at 60,
Nigeria is yet to become an elder. Because when it comes to those things that elders are known for, the wisdom and maturity; Nigeria is
still work in progress. We have nothing to celebrate”, he quipped.

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