As Nigeria marks her 61st birthday, with Bayelsa State celebrating 25th, Bayelsa State born Vivian Amaran who is the director-general of Enhancing Communities Development and Cohesion in Nigeria, ECDC International (Diaspora) and the president of Youths Organisation in the United kingdom, UK spoke with EDITH CHUKU on the October 1st Abuja protest, expressing optimism that all will be well with Nigeria if everyone contributes their quota.
Nigeria at 61, Bayelsa at 25, how do you feel?
Excited. It’s something to celebrate, not because we are there yet, not because we have achieved much, but because we are progressing. We are very hopeful Nigeria is getting better and together, if we all contribute our quota, Nigeria will be better, we will achieve our dream Nigeria.
While celebrating Nigeria’s independence anniversary, some youths staged a protest with placards having the inscription “Buhari must go” in Abuja. Do you think all is really well with Nigeria?
I have hope in this country, Nigeria, our fatherland. I believe in my state, the glory of all lands, Bayelsa, there is still hope for Nigeria. I strongly believe in Nigeria, all is not well but I am optimistic that Nigeria will overcome. This is a challenging time. There is high rate of insecurity, kidnapping, killings; our roads, waterways are not safe, not forgetting hunger, starvation. But I am very hopeful, we will pull through, it has come, it will pass, the labours of our heroes past shall not be in vain. We have to keep talking, supporting, and of course praying for Nigeria.
The same way the youths talked on October 1st 2021, in Abuja, staging a protest to express their grievances?
(Cuts in) grievances?
Yes, over the unpalatable state of things in Nigeria which you earlier mentioned
People, just like those youths, have the right to protest. That notwithstanding, calling for a democratically elected President to go is not relevant. This is our only Nigeria, if it cracks, breaks, destroys, we all will be affected. So, I can’t support such things, especially today that Nigeria is marking her 61st birthday.
Election is right at the corner, if anyone has grievances, use your PVC, vote your choice of candidate, the right candidate. I work with youths like you know; I understand their temperament. Our youths need to be enlightened, educated, trained. They need healthcare support, skill, right opportunities, let’s not ridicule or make mockery of the labours of our heroes.
Nigerians were uninterested in this year’s independence anniversary, on their faces you could see disappointment. What then are we celebrating at 61?
We should celebrate. God wants us to celebrate no matter the situation, we just have to contribute to the development of Nigeria. Some of our youths have taken to arms because of the harsh condition of the economy, but I am saying that it is not a solution. We’re no more under colonial rule. I know Nigeria is developing and much needs to be done in all areas, I repeat, I am hopeful that these challenges will soon become history.
Nigeria has done well in the medical field, we have facilities, maybe not the best, but some of our hospitals are far better than what it was before. Also, in engineering, education and many other areas, we have advanced. If given the opportunity, we can compete with some developed countries.
Which area is Nigeria lagging, that requires urgent attention?
Lack of proper information and technological systems, our security, protection of lives and property, any area that there is laxity, our leaders should put appropriate measures in place, where there is no security, no employment, no development, no business; fear, uncertainty will step in.
Poverty and unemployment are man-made and it is a type of oppression, creating employment and eradication of poverty is fundamental and should be looked into seriously. Killing of any sort is against God and man. No matter what the problem is, shedding of innocent blood is a sin before God, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that all forms of killings are stopped immediately, that’s a responsive government. Nigeria is going through a lot, it’s a phase that many nations went through, let’s work together as a nation for the progress of all.
I encourage our youths to be mindful of stigmatisation, they have to be up and doing and think progressively, they should portray diligence, humility, respectfulness, learn from where others failed. I know it’s challenging but taking to criminality will solve nothing.
To keep Nigeria safe, we have to partake in competitive growth, run an all-inclusive government, make healthcare facilities available and accessible, and improve people’s standard of living. Our leaders have to meet the needs of our people, especially the youths, to move our country forward.
We need avenue where development can thrive to be created, for instance, technology is a global phenomenon, investment, industries, manufacturing etc, Nigeria has all resources and manpower to effectively compete with any nation on earth. Our international borders should be secured, information, intelligence and surveillance sharing among security agencies must be paramount. All security personnel should be highly vetted and made to swear to oath of secrecy and security staff communications monitored as done in other nations. Recruit only those who have the nation’s safety, security in their heart.