Nigeria: A toddler at 60.

The Independence of Nigeria in 1960 brought along renewed hope to its citizens. At last we truly would be able to build a nation that would be prosperous and at a faster pace(considering the enormous potentials and resources at our disposal) without interference from external forces, we would be free from the bondage of being ‘slaves’ in our fatherland.

The dancing and merriment on October 1st 1960 was a pointer to the expectations of our forebears. 60 years down the line, Nigeria has proven to be a failed expectation to many. The last line of our national anthem “one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity”, have remained nothing but mere words.

Freedom: How many Nigerians are truly free? If not under the bondage of political slavery, then under the bondage of ethnic slavery, a lot are still under various colonial masters in their fatherland, just so they can feed – and keep looking forward to the same hope that has kept us going these 60 years.

Peace: There is no region in Nigeria currently experiencing peace. As a matter of fact, never has the nation been in so much crisis as now. The seeming lack of interest of the President Buhari administration to “lead from the front” as he promised has further escalated the crisis all around, from Southern Kaduna to Benue, to Plateau and Borno(where a sitting governor has been attacked more than once), to Ondo where fulani herdsmen kidnap and maim their targets, to Rivers and Enugu where the herders are getting emboldened to challenge their hosts. Where is the peace?

Unity: From 1960, the various regions and ethnic groups of Nigeria haven’t really been united. Lip service has always been paid to matters of national unity, with each region having a plan B to counter the other. As fragile as the seeming unity of Nigeria has been over the decades, the failure of the President Buhari administration to manage same is too obvious to be ignored. From the infamous 97% and 5% comment, to lopsided appointments in favour of his tribe, region, religion and dialect, a template may have been set for other regions to follow when they get to Aso rock.

A nation’s Independence Day serves as an opportunity to xray the growth of the nation over the years, but most importantly it gives citizen the platform to evaluate the performance of the administration in power(at the time) and its contribution to national growth.

On the three parameters of freedom, peace and unity, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has performed absymally. On the economy, it is evident for everyone to see; the continuous free fall of the Naria against other currencies has affected almost every sector of the economy. Businesses and importers steadily losing their investments due to fluctuations in the exchange rate.

The much touted gains in the agricultural sectors are only on paper or perhaps there’s a special market where the president and his supporters buy foodstuff at a cheap rate. Very soon a vast majority of Nigerians may not be able to afford rice anymore – while the politicians celebrate empty rice pyramids.

For 60 years has our educational sector improved or has it worsened? How has our healthcare sector fared? Aviation, roads, security apparatus, international relations, sports? In which area can Nigerians boldly say “we’re a force to reckon with”, from all indication, at 60 the nation is still learning how to crawl.

While the blame for our nation’s woes these 60 years cannot be placed entirely on President Buhari and his team of yes men, it is however shocking that a President who is in his 3rd coming as leader hasn’t still been able to bring meaningful impact to the nation. After his first coming as military dictator, his struggle to be civilian president and the noise about his being a ‘reformed democrat’, one would have expected growth and prosperity in the last five years of his administration – alas the content of the vessel is quite clear.

As the journey towards another 60 years begins today, it behoves on Nigerians to make a deliberate effort to be involved in nation building; which begins from the leaders we choose and demanding much more from our leaders.

Persons shouldn’t be rewarded for having failed absymally. Enough of our elected officials “expressing shock” over daily occurrences, that should be handled head-on. Now is the time to hold people accountable for their actions and promises.

The duty to ensure this baby isn’t crawling at 120 is collectively ours. The task of ensuring subsequent Independence Days are worth celebrating is on all of us.

Arise, O Compatriots!

Image credit: Google

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