Celebrities and the Nigeria of their dream
As Nigeria marks her 56th independence anniversary, some screen celebrities reflect on the journey so far and speak about Nigeria of their dream.
I remember growing up with less fear of the unknown, going to grocery shops with little cash, enough to buy the necessary things my mum would need to cook with.
There were more brotherly love and jobs were in abundance. Road and rail were the best means of transportation because they were not only affordable and comfortable, but they also offered opportunities for breathtaking sightseeing, especially for long trips.
Our basic amenities were very visible and functional. Our public schools were the best-equipped, as such we thought less of private school(s).
Nowadays, the story has changed. Our infrastructures have decayed and little or no attention is paid to them.
Honestly, I want a Nigeria I can dream of, a nation that cares for her citizens; a nation that is devoid of religious extremism and nepotism, that places value on human life and a nation that believes strongly in brotherhood.
I still believe that one day, we shall join hands together, shrug off our ethnocentric poli-religious status quo and rebuild a nation I have always dreamt of.
Growing up in Nigeria taught me many things, one of which is the firm belief that things can and will change in a positive direction if we really put our minds to it.
Even though a lot has changed since my childhood, this has never left me. The Nigeria of my dream is a safe place for everyone- the poor, the rich, the needy, the sick and the vulnerable, regardless of religious and tribal differences.
I dream of a Nigeria where our economy creates more jobs for people with different kinds of skills and equips those with no skills at all. A Nigeria where everyone’s rights will be protected and where we treat each other with dignity and respect; a Nigeria where everyone works together to create a more prosperous society in a compassionate and honest way.
I dream of a Nigeria where we can give our children more than we had, so that they can do the same and leave the world better than we found it.
The Nigeria I grew up to know was filled with warm memories. There was a real and palpable sense of communal love. People seemed more connected and cared for strangers and extended family.
My mom made sure I greeted every elder I came across, for instance. Later on, I was fortunate to experience the northern part of Nigeria when I went off to boarding school at Federal Government Girls College (FGGC) in Bauchi and met girls from all over Nigeria and I appreciated our cultural and religious diversity.
For example, before each meal, we collectively said our prayers in Islamic and Christian fashion. The Nigeria of today is different.
I guess our collective challenges as a nation has brought out the beast in us, as every man to him/herself is the order of the day. There is very little tolerance for each other, which is sad.
Of course, there has been improvement, in terms of technology and the arts, where there is a great renaissance of which I am proud to be part of.
So, it is not all doom and gloom, but there is still a lot of work to be done. The Nigeria of my dream is one where we become our brother and sister’s keeper. Where a real sense of community and love abides. Where tribe or background, gender or creed do not matter anymore.
I enjoyed being a child, back then when Nigeria was Nigeria. We had playgrounds and libraries and public schools had facilities provided by government.
Parents were not too busy to raise and teach their kids. Our teachers had integrity and were committed to service. We had extra curricular activities that engaged us creatively and enabled us to build friendship and nurture leadership skills. Children were raised by a community of adults who didn’t care about where you were from.
Today, there is so much divide. Children can’t be children anymore. Parents are too busy to look after their kids. The kids have lost their play spaces and activities to nothing. We have too many angry young people, hiding their pain in drugs, sex and crime.
Today, the poverty is in every sphere; reasoning, respect, love and the quality of people and community.
I wish I could have a Nigeria without poverty and discrimination, where everyone is encouraged to be all they can be.
The Nigeria of my dream is a country with good roads, light, security and so on.
I grew up to hear leaders tell us that it will be better and they did this from one election campaign to another and nothing has changed.
In fact, it is actually getting worst and really sad that what we have been hearing right from when we were young, our kids will still be seeing and hearing, with the way it is still going.
I think we need to get Nigeria working again and I agree that all hands must be on deck. The first thing is to sort the light (electricity) situation of the country. And trust Nigerians, they will work the rest out
Each year, our independence comes to remind us of who we are, where we are coming from and where we ought to be.
I grew up in a country where young men and women had opportunities to study on scholarships, where employment waited for the youths to come out from school and a nation where talents and creativity were respected, harnessed and promoted for the good of the nation.
I was born into a country where family values and social cohesion was the order of the day, a nation where young people had great respects for adults and where leaders were accountable to the people.
I grew up in the western part of Nigeria where education was free and regional leaders invested in infrastructure to build for the future, the legacies of which still remain extant today.
I was born into a nation where the pain of one person in the South was the pain of his/her fellow in the North. Today, we are living in a nation deeply divided among its people, a nation where mutual suspicion has taken the place of trust and brotherhood, a nation where the words of our National Anthem and National Pledge are mere wishful thinking.
I think we should use this occasion of independence to reflect on our journey so far. After all, a man who is 56 years is certainly not a baby.
Therefore, the Nigeria of my dream is a nation where God-given resources are utilised for the wellbeing of the citizens, not a place where individuals plunder the commonwealth for their selfish gains.
I want a nation where citizens should be free to live and be happy in any part thereof without molestation and harassment and where young men and women are given conducive environment to develop their talents, where employment is relatively available for those qualified to work.
May this 56th independence be a reminder that we still have the opportunity to redirect our steps and refocus our nation to achieve greatness.
Happy Independence Nigeria! God Bless Nigeria!