BY HENRY EMEKA OGBONNA
Nigeria’s foray into its sixth decade as a nation has been greeted with analyses and viewpoints over how the nation has fared over the years, the highs and the lows, as well as the gaps that need to be filled on its path to glory.
For Hon. Benni Lar, a member of the House of Representatives that is currently representing Langtang North Federal Constituency, she has been counting the gains the country has recorded as well as the giant strides that have been taken on the path to sustainable development.
In her words, she is of the opinion that the country has evolved tremendously over the course of these 60 years, maturing significantly in the business of law making which, as a matter of fact, is the singular hinge on which a sustainable democracy can be built.
There have been various instances when the nation was about to erupt into a crisis of monumental proportions, but the timely intervention of the legislative arm of the government has always been on hand to save the day and bring the nation back on track. There has also been a remarkable and noteworthy synergy between the legislative and executive arms of the government, which, according to her, form the basis of the feats achieved so far, especially in the course of the Fourth Republic.
An example of this would be the recent passage of the Police Reform Bill which has been passed to enable states have a sense of self-realization by way of community policing, with the attendant benefits, and the stark realization that the current mode of policing as being adopted by the country is not in tune with the current trends of curbing crime and criminality, hence the need for the reforms and amendments.
One of the gnawing fears of deregulation of security of sorts would be the inclination of powers that be in such regions to monopolize and politicize such security structures, and she has advocated against it, on the strength of previous experiences and instances where such apparatus of security has turned out to be monsters that became uncontrollable and beyond the leash of its conveners.
Going forward on the outlook of the nation as a whole on the occasion of her 60th anniversary, she notes that Nigeria has a lot to celebrate, citing that in spite of the challenge the nation has passed through over the years, belief in the country has never been stronger than it is now, even in the face of challenges that are staring the nation in the face.
Apart from that, Nigeria has now garnered a huge dose of respect in the comity of nations and this is based on the contributions the country has made in the democratization and the sustenance of the same in various countries. The recent position the country took regarding the Mali saga is a testimony to that fact, and it has further boosted the image of the country in the international scene.
In addition there has been an immense growth and maturity over the years, with regard to the things that unite us as a country and efforts being made at promoting such things as against harping on the things that tear the nation apart, especially along ethnic and religious lines.
As Chairperson of the House Committee on Science and Technology, Rep Lar was elated to declare that there had been giant strides in that sector, adding that as it is at present, the various efforts at growth in that sector has made it possible for the current production of home grown technology, as exemplified by the local production test kits as occasioned by the prevalent COVID-19 pandemic, as well as personal protective equipment for the same purpose. In as much as there was the teething challenge of connecting the business arm of the value chain to the technological aspect, efforts were embarked upon to make the venture a commercially viable one.
Speaking further on the genera democratic scene in Nigeria since the emergence of this unbroken democracy, she expressed dismay at the level of participation of women in politics and in elected positions, adding that women’s involvement in politics was abysmal when compared to countries like Egypt where things were refreshingly different. She noted with sadness that back in Nigeria that aspiring women politicians still have a great deal of financial and traditional hurdles to cross in order to get to the proverbial Promised Land.
She appealed to the male gender to assist in championing the cause for greater representation of women in politics. She was, however, happy to point out that the situation was slightly different in her constituency, as it was evident that the people believed in her so much as to overlook her gender and give her the slot to run time and again for the position she was presently occupying.
The lawmaker noted with joy that her constituency was a bit more gender friendly as opposed to what obtained in other parts of the country. In her opinion, she thought it would be wise to make it top on the agenda in the law making arm of government to come up with relevant bills that would see more women given the opportunity to contribute their quota towards nation-building in the political and administrative realm of government.
The daughter of the former governor of old Plateau state, Chief Solomon Daushep Lar, went sentimental and recounted the sterling contribution of her father to the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria, the most noteworthy being the championing of the cause of democracy in the days of the Abacha military junta. While noting that nothing of relevance was done in practical terms to immortalize her father and etch his name in the commensurate annals of the country, she expressed the desire for something to be done in that direction, stating instructively that his political shoes were too big for her to fill in her own capacity.
Rep Lar urged Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of national unity as that was the pivot on which other unifying and developmental issues were hinged on, while wishing Nigeria a prosperous anniversary.