Hope still for Nigeria at 56

NigeriaThe Independence Day of a country, as the qualifier suggests, is a triumphant expression of liberation. As always, it is a day of soulful national reflection and commemoration of the gallant attempts to lead the people away from the stranglehold of oppression and subjugation and to orientate them towards the best possible attainment of their destiny. However, as Nigeria marks 56 years of Independence tomorrow, any celebration, pomp and merry-making on Independence Day may be hollow, if proper stock-taking of the people’s national life is glossed over. 

Despite the increasing hopelessness, confusion and lethargy occasioned by the present economic recession and seeming rudderless leadership that is unveiled in the perception of the common Nigerian, Independence Day enables all to reflect on the enormous challenges facing the country. Yet, it does more than that. It also points towards the future; it extricates us from lamentation and points us to genuine liberation.

Truly, Nigerians are justified to be angry and confused. In the last one year, the challenges have been overwhelming. Widespread insecurity has threatened national cohesion and promoted mistrust; the absence of sound economic policies and projections has put the nation in dire financial straits; nearly all states of the federation are unable to pay salaries. The lack of foresight, financial recklessness, imprudence, and the lack of will to consummate projects have been the bane of our nation. Nigerians have a right not to celebrate.

Notwithstanding these enormous challenges, this year’s Independence Day, the second for the Muhammadu Buhari administration, should also make us remember that countries pass through difficulties in order to become stronger and more prosperous. Nations get stronger, more viable and more respected only after they have genuinely withstood the throes of historical shortcomings thrust upon them by social needs. Given this truth about development dynamics, the commemoration of Nigeria’s Independence speaks to all Nigerians to review the present precarious existence with some hope.

One of the threatened values which Independence Day brings to mind concerns the unity of the country. Inherited structures of British colonisation that consolidated a forced unity as a people, and yet enabled us to carry on for the good of all Nigerians, are crumbling before our eyes. These structures, which include the armed forces, the civil service, among others, are being destroyed to our national peril. Independence Day, therefore, draws attention to a glorious past that gave Nigeria its greatness through these structures.

Besides this significance of unity, there is also the gargantuan image which Nigeria projects for the African and Black people in general. The success of Nigeria is a symbolic proposal of accomplishment for Africa and the Black race. Nigeria’s global exploits signal hope and promise for the Black people. As we mark this year’s Independence anniversary, Nigerian leaders and all should be cognizant of the challenge and responsibility that come with this impression: Nigeria is at the forefront of leadership in Africa, and if Nigeria disintegrates or is splintered, it will weaken the prospect of the Black race.

However, fostering this unity and sustaining a prestigious global image amount to nought if they are not determined by performance of the people. The well-being of Nigerians, their self-image, how Nigerian authorities govern their people, how Nigerians situate themselves in the scheme of global affairs, must reflect the powerful, united country and Africa’s iconic Big Brother which Nigeria connotes.

Although Nigerians expected too much from this administration given the excesses of the last regime and the promises of this ruling party are far from fulfilled, it would be uncharitable to dismiss the modest achievements of this government. True, Nigeria faces economic recession, and hunger stalks everyone in the land; yet, the progress made in the fight against Boko Haram is a commendable signature of this administration. The gains from the fight against Boko Haram and insurgency should not be sacrificed on the altar of hunger pangs. That the government is making frantic efforts to address insecurity of that magnitude is something Nigerians can leverage upon.

October 1, Nigeria’s Independence Day, is also another opportune moment to improve on such gestures. The ‘Change’ mantra of this administration and its militaristic anti-corruption drive, is a principle that Nigerians can refine to move on to greatness. But to get this done would require the right people, with the right knowledge to do the right thing.

In short, it would require the requisite personnel and manpower to turn innumerable good policies into measurable and realistic frame-works for action towards the common good. This demands the harnessing of knowledgeable, talented, skillful, nationalistic and selfless Nigerians who would get things done by solving problems; those who have the wherewithal for home-grown solutions and who can stimulate the modalities for job-creation or wealth creation along those lines.

These sorts of people abound in Nigeria; they run the stable economies abroad. If Nigeria is to attain its destined goal, these are the people Nigeria needs in foreign affairs to mop up our battered image abroad. They are the ones Nigeria needs in agriculture, and not armchair theoreticians occupying positions just because they are party cronies. They are the ones who should manage our defence, and other areas of our national life in need of attention.

The message for tomorrow on Independence is this: That Nigeria is blessed with such manifold socio-economic transformers should give us hope. This, therefore, points to the fact that our present economic condition is not an indication of the end for Nigerians.

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Nigeria Independence Day

  • Chiemela Agu

    Re: Hope still for Nigeria at 56
    By Editorial board |
    30 September 2016 |
    3:52 am
    Below is a letter I have written to Nigeria based on the above caption.

    Letter to Nigeria

    Nigeria, how are you?

    I hope you are able to cope with life over the years.

    My friend, I also hope that at the age of 56, you are matured enough to be a fully fledged man who fought for independence and gained full self-determination and autonomy. You could remember that on the day of full
    hand over of your property and other belongings, you were very happy. People celebrated, wined and dined with you.

    You were full of hope and expectations. I knew that on that day, within you, you would be thinking of how you would be the best or one of the best of countries in this universe.

    You were recording one achievement or the other. You were doing well in agriculture. Your economy depended on it. You were making progress.

    People could trust you. If there was no room for you to trust or believe anybody you could just write-off 5% of cheating or any form of fraudulent act.

    You however, had some harrowing experiences apart from the likely 5% provision for any suspicion like nepotism, tribalism, regionalism and religious intolerance.

    The military took over power from the civilians. These vices continued which resulted to bloodletting and civil war. The civil war ended, as if God had you as his special son, there was oil boom just few years later. You had a lot of money. People say that you had a lot of money to the extent that you did not know what to do with
    money. You became prodigal and extravagant.

    It was just few citizens that had the mind of committing fraud that was more than 5%. But alas, the very few people that Devil entered into their mind who had the courage of committing fraud worth of 300% was just
    very few. The most regrettable was that they were respected and even close to be worshiped by your people. Your character changed automatically from positive to negative.

    You did not diversify your economy. Yours is a mono-product economy. You have depended almost solely on oil over the years. My friend what kind of life is this? If a fool at 40 is a fool forever, what do we say about a
    fool of over 50 years? Soccer was one of the things that used to make you great and which you so much relied on your players ability to excel, at a time a new phrase known as wobbling and fumbling was introduced into it. You did not believe that, not knowing that it was ominous. That was a sign of more of troubles and failures to come.

    My friend, please don’t be offended. I don’t mean that you have not had any achievement or success since you gained freedom from the colonialists. What I mean is that you should have done much more to escape from the headache you are having today. Since that time things have been going from worse to worse.

    Though a time came when your economy was regarded as the world’s third fastest growing economy. People started nursing some hope in their hearts that it would be well. Even people whose problems can be estimated
    as being as deep as 20th feet well believed you that it would be well. But all of a sudden, you started
    having another set of leaders whose most cherished job is to look for frauds committed by the previous governments, with all manner of threats to recover the loots and met out the worst disciplinary measure that can be thought of. You now have a leadership who does not think of new ideas but tries to refurbish the old ideas and programmes like re-launching of War Against Indiscipline – over 30 years old programme of old administration headed by the same person.

    You have added the word ”change” to your so-called good programmes, telling people that they have to accept the change in order to move forward. Where are you changing from and where are you going to? What is your standard? I think you should have a standard from which you move forward? Are you saying that you are working on baselessness to reach where? My friend you are just like a bird perching and moving from one tree and flying from one place to another endlessly? Are you saying that for instance, you are in Basic
    5 in Primary School instead of you to move to Basic 6, you will go back to Basic 1, and from Basic 1 to University without any standard or base? All in the name of change. Prices of most goods and services that used to be N100 are N200 and miraculously the prices will go back to N100. I disagree. My friend I
    don’t understand this your idea. I think before we embark on this change, we have to set a standard first My questions to you my dear friend are: Do you mean that you don’t have any standard? How can you be described as the fastest growing person last year and fell off the chart this year and call it forward-moving? Do you mean that for instance if you are in secondary school and you are known as the one of the most improved students. All of a sudden you start moving backward, receding (otherwise known as recession) and start telling me that I will beat all the traffic on my way like over 200% rise in prices of most goods and services, joblessness and planlessness? How can you move yourself forward with a leadership that uses threat as a formula for progress? Have you checked your character very well and found out that you have not cheated or worn a threatening look before you climbed to the top? Have you checked the record of members of your team and discovered that they have not erred or cheated in any way? Have you done enough research and discovered that the best way to move a big country like yours forward is to threaten people you claim to have embezzled your money? My friend, Mr. Nigeria if I may advise you, drop the idea of threat and the use of EFCC as the key ways to move forward. You should rather call the people involved at the round-table before it is too late if you are convinced that they have embezzled your money and tell them to return it promising and fulfilling the promise that you will not harass them thereafter. You can encourage them to invest the money in Nigeria so that people can be employed by those establishments. At least these are ready monies that you can lay your hands on instead of threatening people and believing that oil prices will pick up for you to build the Eldorado from zero level. This is not realistic. A bird in the hand is worth more than twenty in the bush. Let us use this African and realistic way. We cannot be more catholic than the Pope. Let us use our home-made solution which is cheaper, easier, friendly, realistic and result-oriented. With these measures the economy can be woken up faster.

    Wishing you many returns and God’s blessings.

  • AriseNigeria

    Helplessness for a Hopelessness Nigeria. Disaster, Calamity, Massacre, Recession, Nepotism, Tribalism, Terrorism, Intolerant @ 56 years. WE MOURN NIGERIA AND WISH, WE COULD LED IT TO ETERNAL REST IN PEACE, but instead Nigeria has occupied the BOTTOMLESS PIT, WHERE ITS FIRE NEVER QUENCH. IF NIGERIA WERE TO BE WISE, IT WILL UNDUE WHAT ITS COLONIAL ENEMY DID TO IT, BY BRINGING BURNING MATCHES WITH PETROL-NIGERIA IS BURNING!!!

  • Tantolorun

    Talking of hope for a Nation at age 56 is somehow pathetic. The country needs to rally round and get it right. If the older generation are not ready for any serious business, they need to yield governance to the young ones. At any rate, it is the young generation that puts the nation’s name on the world map today in the areas of sports, entertainment, Science, and even IT. so, let these selfish old men go and sit down somewhere. Enough!!!

  • Basil Ogbanufe

    “….should give us hope”.

    I ask, what hope should Nigeria have 56 years after change of rulership from white colonial rule to black colonial rule?

    Hope or illusion?

    Expectations or mirages?