Let me begin by wishing all Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora a happy 55 independence anniversary. It gives me great joy to see that our dear nationNigeria is still a unified entity at this period in our historyconsidering our religious sentiments, ethnic biases and regional differences. Some nations in the world today didn’t have so much challenge facing them the way we have it here, before toeing the path of division. Nigeria have been able to manage these differences and still remain one indivisible nation today. I consider this a great fete in the current political era that is sweeping across the globe. It is no doubt that Nigeria at 55 have not achieved much as expected. Things are not the way they should considering the vast resources that we have been endowed with as a nation. We have so much and yet, we still lack so much. We live in the midst of plenty and still, there is so much poverty and hunger in the land. We have the worst of infrastructures that an oil-producing nation should have. 55 years on, the roads are bad, there is no constant electricity, and our educational system is nothing to be proud of.
This little piece of mine is not to join in the bandwagons of those countless number of Nigerians who do not believe that anything good can come out of the Nazareth of this country. My intent here is to show us that while we may be lacking in all of these things that I have highlighted above, our dear country is on the path of recovery and greatness. We have heard about a number of countries in the world today that didn’t start on a platter of gold, but find a way around their systems to making their countries an envy of the World. If I don’t know of so many of them, I know about Singapore under the Late Lee Kuan Yew. Through the principle of meritocracy, multiculturalism, pragmatic, incorrupt governance and civil service altogether with its rapid development policies; Singapore rose to prominence in a matter of years.
I am not one of those who think Nigeria cannot be great again. As a matter of fact, we are on the path to that greatness. The founding fathers of this great nation no doubt had a good plan. There was so much progress in the country immediately after independence in 1960 before the military ceased power through various coups and eventually before the civil war broke out. There was tremendous progress made under the various regional systems of government being practiced then in which each region was allowed to develop at its own pace, manage its own affairs and contribute a certain percentage of its earned income to the national purse. This period was no doubt the time when true Federalism worked for us and since the civil war disrupted it, the country has never known it that beautiful again. Our motto is “Unity and faith, peace and progress”, but this has not been the experience of many Nigerians so far. Millions of Nigerians still live below the poverty line, unemployment and discouragement are written on many young Nigerian’s faces. Our value systems have been broken down. Corruption crept in un-aware, politics then became an avenue to amass wealth by politicians. Military generals retire and join politics, everything became business and the nation stood still without progress.
A new Nigeria is here. Our case is like the story of the prodigal son who lost his way, but has now retraced his steps back home. Things are no longer business as usual; a new Sheriff is in town. The foundation of a new Nation called Nigeria is gathering shape, bits by bits, bricks by bricks. Our future is bright, we must only believe so that we can be a partaker of that glorious future. Pessimism about Nigeria will not solve our problem; we can only collectively keep hope alive in a better nation that is emerging. Every Nigerians must be willing and also ready to play their parts under this new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. In the past 16years of our uninterrupted democratic rule, no administration has promised an unprecedented political development that will be reflective in the lives of the citizenry. The administration have declared total war on corruption- which has been the bane to our development, and total adherence to the rule of law and the constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria while fighting this war.
For us to benefit maximally from this greatness that is coming, there is need for us as a people to change the way we do and see things about this nation. The change that we want must first and foremost begin with us as individuals, then to our families and then to the nation at large. How can we possibly change our nation when we cannot even exert positivity in ourselves, be a role model to our families and then the community we are coming from? There is need to also change our value systems. Our perception about service delivery must change. We must entrench the values of hard work and smartness on the coming generation. We must all ensure that the little ones that are still growing should detest corruption with a passion. These moral lessons should be taught from homes, and complemented in our schools. Abdu Kalam said this sometimes ago “if a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher”. The development of Nigeria is a collective responsibility of all of us. Each and every one of us must be seen to be doing the right thing at every point in time. As much as we have leaders who are willing to work, we also must cooperate with them to ensure that they succeed.
What I have simply done in this little piece is to challenge you to begin to think differently about this nation. Let us always think about what we can do to make Nigeria a better place for all of us, and not what Nigeria can do for us. While we look forward to another blissful new year for Nigeria, let us be mindful of this one thing, that no matter where we may find our self on this globe, Nigeria is home. We didn’t choose this country for ourselves, God Himself placed us here and I believe He has a purpose for doing so. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Thank you for reading.