A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief Ezekiel Afukonyo, has said that Nigeria has made tremendous progress since her Independence in 1960.
Afukonyo who stated this during his 60th Independence anniversary message on Saturday in Abuja said the country has attained notable strides, especially under President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
In his message, the former Taraba State governorship candidate, current board chairman of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital and chairman Open Palm Nigeria Limited elaborated his position on the levels of progress recorded so far in Nigeria.
He said the current administration remains resolute in infrastructural growth, human capital development, agriculture, industrialization, transportation, education, foreign policy, peace accords and international affairs.
Afukonyo further stated that Nigeria since Independence has made tremendous progress forward, and that, there are no comparisons with where the nation is today in terms of infrastructure growth.
He noted that there have been commendable improvements in major sectors and industries across the country, with critical emphasis on human capital development, which he said was achieved through integrated investments in empowerment and education over the years.
In the agricultural sector, Afukonyo commended governments and leadership, especially the current administration for the role they had yet played to ease the intrinsic complacency birthed after the discovery of oil in 1956, which led to the renouncement of agriculture and more concentrated efforts on oil.
He, therefore, stated that the narratives have changed today, as the present government is doing creditably well in its efforts to revive the consciousness of Nigerians and integrate them into agriculture, especially through supportive loans, grants and incentives, which has currently contributed to the growth, empowerment and development of Nigeria.
Afukonyo also emphasized on the amazing improvements which the transportation sector has recorded in recent times.
He noted that both road and rail transport infrastructures and aviation have made significant progress, with regards to the construction of more road networks, airports and rail lines, linking communities to support trade, mobility, tourism and other necessities.
He noted that electricity has also improved, with exceptional progress made in areas of rural electrification, which is a core area of advancement in the power sector.
Speaking as an indigene of Taraba state, Chief Afukonyo commended the federal government on the Mambilla hydropower project, which is a 3,050 Mega Watts hydroelectric facility, being developed on the Dongo River, near Baruf in Kakara Village of Taraba State.
Afukonyo noted that the epoch electrification project is expected to commence operation in 2030 and will be Nigeria’s biggest power plant.
Afukonyo further spotlighted the successes attained in areas of industrialization. He uncovered that since 1990, the nation had more of foreign agencies and Institutions, but in the last few decades, many indigenous companies have sprung up and quite a number of small-scale industries are also being established.
Afukonyo stated that such improvements in industrialization have made Nigeria the hub of Africa’s emerging business destination, especially with the signing oft he protocol establishing African Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA).
In areas of foreign policy development, Afukonyo said, “the country has done very well in terms of relations with other countries of the world, however, a country’s national interest to a large extent determines her foreign policy, and even when a nation’s requirements are constant, the dynamics, desirables and the variables may continue to mould her character at the international stage.”