On the 1st of October 1960 the whole world stood still because a giant was born. Nigeria became an independent nation and we gained political independence from our colonial masters thanks to the nationalists who fought with the whole of their hearts. Nigeria, our beloved country, gained her independence and this year, the “giant of Africa” will be celebrating her 50th birthday. I have taken my time to look at the journey of our beloved country since independence and I ask, how far have we gone as a country?
This question is not a question that I expect us to give an immediate response to. Personally for moments I was thinking about this question and will encourage you to do the same looking at every area of that make up Nigeria as a country. I ask again has the dreams of our heroes past seen the light of day, how well have we journeyed the last fifty years as an independent country. With patriotism and enthusiasm our founding fathers charted a course for the greatness of this country refusing to be discouraged until they saw the birth of their dream. But the key question remains, have we kept the dream alive.
In the academic sector have we made our founding fathers proud of us, have we kept their dream alive. What is the standard of our education after fifty years of independence compared to other countries of the world? Several years back our standard of education was ranked 6th in the world but today sorry is the case, we have half-baked graduate; graduate who cannot defend their certificate not talk of contending with their peers from other parts of the world.
We have graduate roaming the streets in search of job after spending years in the university and other tertiary institutions. Unlike what we had years back where federal government jobs would have been waiting begging for them to accept but the situation is not the same today. The number of graduate is far more than the jobs available, while the number of graduate is increasing at geometric progression; job vacancy is increasing at the speed of a snail.
In the economic sector have we made our heroes proud or have we fallen their hands and have killed their dreams. According to an online report on Nigeria’s national flag the white stripe in the center signifies peace; the green stands for agriculture, which remains the backbone of the national economy. Fifty years after independence we have succeeded in abusing the intent of the national flag the I ask, where is our pride in the national flag? The focus of our economy has totally shifted to petroleum and instead of building a multi-dimensional economy system; we have succeeded in focusing one and have successfully become a mono-economy independent state. Agriculture our initial economy pride has fallen to the background and has faded what a pity.
Our leaders are concerned about nothing but their pockets, all they want to do is enrich the masses and enrich their pocket. We no longer have leaders of the masses but leaders with selfish interest have you not made the labor of our heroes past be in vain? The national treasure has now become a personal treasure meant to enrich the pockets of selfish public holders what a pity and the I ask again, is this what it means to be fifty years old?
How well have we upheld peace? The resent Jos crises has done no good to our beloved country it has along with other crises making us one of the countries on the terror list, is that what fifty years is all about? Abia state has become the headquarters of kidnappers what a pity for the giant of Africa at fifty. Is this the kind of dream our founding fathers had for at independence, have we made their dreams a true dream or a nightmare?
The power sector is a no go area, it has become a situation of fetching water in to a basket. All effort to resuscitate the power sector has yielded no positive result instead it keeps getting worse and just like a friend once said,” the federal government should sell the power sector and distribute the money realized from the sale to all citizen to do whatever they like with their share”. A giant at fifty that we can’t boast of fifty days of uninterrupted power supply. This is the journey of fifty years.
We keep claiming to be the giant of Africa yet the humble ones have overtaken the self acclaimed giant. In football we claim to have attained the height no African country has attained. At the recently concluded world cup in South Africa, we could not go past the first round what an unfortunate experience. Apart from football let’s look at other sports; we use to be a force to reckon with.
Political instability has been another greatest undoing for us in the last five decade impacting us negatively on institutional development, which is necessary for advancement. Our structure of governance had barely been developed when we ran into series of political obstacles shortly after independence which consequently resulted in the unfortunate 30-month civil war which is certainly not the dream of those who fought for the independence, our heroes past; we have no doubt disappointed you in the first fifty years after independence.
However, my fellow compatriot, the journey of another fifty years has just begun. The opportunity for us to correct our mistakes and focus on how to wipe away the tears of our founding fathers that are definitely not happy with what we have done in the last fifty years. We have to come together and focus on the strength in our diversity, let’s focus more on our strength and pay less attention on our mistakes and weaknesses.
The journey to another fifty years has just started and how well we will fare depends a lot on what we start doing now, all hand must be on deck and we must come together with one purpose in mind which is how to make Nigeria the country everybody around the world wants to be. In the next fifty years we should be happy that we made mistakes and have learned from them and have become better. We should stop apportioning blame and pointing accusing fingers. We should have renewal of heart and attitude towards national issues and make Nigeria the pride of our founding fathers in the world beyond.
Regarding the power sector which is very key to national development, we should seek the hand of foreign experts that will help improve the power supply in Nigeria. It should however be noted that the coming of foreigners does not automatically guarantee the improvement hence, we must all work together to make the situation by contributing our individual quota to improve the present situation.
Let’s begin to see and focus on the strength in our diversity and put a stop to this inhuman act of killing one another all in the name of religion and tribe. Nigerians are known as people with uncommon strength and hardworking let’s focus on this positive attributes and make Nigeria the pride and giant of Africa in deed and just like Obama’s slogan, “yes we can”.
And just like the president said on the 1st of October during his independence/jubilee speech, “the greatest resource we have is the youth; we have the greatest stake in transforming our nation. It is time for us to answer the call and contribute to Nigeria’s foundation of freedom. This is how this generation will make its mark. This is how we will make the most of these opportunities. This is how we will ensure that five decades from now, as our children and grand children celebrate our nation’s independence centenary, we will be remembered as having contributed to the great history of Nigeria.
Personally I commit myself to this course of nation building and making our founding fathers proud of what they fought for. The journey begins now so let’s start work, God bless Nigeria.