TODAY is the 60th anniversary of Nigeria’s flag independence. Our Diamond Jubilee is themed: “Together”. The Federal Government has rolled out a one year-long panoply of events that will terminate on September 31, 2021 but will be marked today in “low-key” with the ongoing pandemic in mind.
For decades, our independence days have always provided opportunities for “sobre reflections”. Even this Diamond anniversary will not be different. In fact, governments seem to be the only stakeholders bothered with a celebration of any sort because it is their officially-bounden duty.
Ordinary Nigerians have very little reason to celebrate. Even the “togetherness” which seemingly excites the Federal Government has increasingly come under question under the current administration which seems strongly committed to the aggrandisement of a section of the populace at the expense of other equally entitled Nigerians.
The flagrant violation of the Federal Character provision of the 1999 Constitution and unrelenting efforts to make laws to deprive some Nigerians of their lands and water resources have massively eroded the faith of many Nigerians in their leaders and their sense of belonging to the country.
The Federal Government claims that President Muhammadu Buhari is “building a new Nigeria”. It is not clear whether that new nation is for all Nigerians or for only a section along with some privileged foreign groups from the Sahel. The recent award of a $1.95bn railway contract from Kano to Maradi in Niger Republic buttresses this doubt.
After 60 years of independence, Nigeria has become the world’s “poverty capital” with the largest number of out-of-school children. After war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq, Nigeria is the third most terrorised. Nigeria ranks among the worst in the areas of education, health, infrastructure, security, power, corruption perception, effective governance and others in the world.
In spite of all these whelming challenges, we call on Nigerians not to lose hope about the future of our dear country. Nigeria’s future is still assured if only the citizens rise to make our leaders to do the right thing. The citizens have their own share of the blame for what Nigeria has become because they abandoned our independence in the hands of politicians and military adventurists who hijacked the country and ran it aground.
These unpatriotic leaders divided ordinary Nigerians along ethnic and religious lines and yet left every section of our diversity misgoverned, impoverished, unprotected and terrorised.
Nigeria can still be great. We have some of the best quality human assets who are proving their mettle all over the world where they find fertile ground. We must come together and create the change we need to ignite the hidden greatness of our country.
If we fail in this sacrificial duty the country which is now living on borrowed times, may soon be irretrievably lost!