Welcome to the formal take-off of epa.com.ng, the blog of wisdom. And as we begin this ride on this day when Nigeria marks her independence from colonial rule in 1960, I wish all Nigerians a happy celebration. I wish and I hope it is possible to have a happy celebration. This is the first of our trilogy for the independence week.
In any clime, at 58 a man or woman should be considered a senior citizen – or almost one, in countries where they insist you must turn 60 before receiving all the benefits due to such a national.
As a country, we have missed several chances and milestones to make Nigeria become a real nation. Within the first 10 years of our existence as an independent nation, we fought a civil war from 6th July 1967 to 15th January 1970. We were convinced after the war that the Three ‘Rs’ of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation touted by the Yakubu Gowon government would be achieved in the following 10 years. Therefore, we had hoped that by the time Nigeria was 20 years as nation in 1980, we would have surmounted all the challenges of suspicion, mistrust and doubts that ignited that war. But did that happen? The answer is a big NO! We have turned 30, 40, 50 and we are almost at the doorstep of the 60th year since we became independent in 1960.
Remember that Nigeria was a colony of Great Britain until it became an independent nation on 1st October, 1960. The country was considered a fast growing entity with impressive foreign exchange earnings from cocoa, groundnut, rubber, palm oil, bauxite, coal, timber, etc; then came the oil boom, the black gold. The greed for petro dollars from the petroleum industry became our doom. This doom has led many to question the rationale of the quest of our founding fathers for independence which some still say today we were probably not ready for, judging by the occurrences and poor leadership that have bedeviled the country.
I remember that as pupils and students on Independence Day in 1960 up till when the suspicions escalated, we would all deck in our shining school uniforms as well as canvas shoes, and take our dishes and plates (there were no plastic bowls those days that they use for school feeding now) to school where they would have killed a cow and cooked rice to share to all the children. We would march in the school field and those selected would go to the stadium or police ground for march-past to beautiful music from the police band, waving our green-white-green flags. We didn’t ask where the cow or rice came from, but it was there every year!
For young, innocent minds like that, Independence Day was a day of enjoyment and entertainment. I am sure the hopes of all of us then was that this beautiful country that was providing all these goodies for us will even do more when we grow older, since our parents seemed to also be enjoying the good life. Sadly, it has not been smooth sailing and things seemed to have nose-dived for the majority of the people – those they refer to as the masses – who continue to hope that ‘E go better’.
Our people say when there is life, there is hope. It shouldn’t then be out of place for us to hope that our life as a nation will ‘begin at 60’ in 2020 and that 2020 will be that Magic Year that the figure seems to portend.
You may ask:
- Why 2020?
- Why not 2019 when we have a general election coming up?
- Why don’t we ensure we elect the right leaders who will help turn around our fortune and lead us in the path of peace and progress?
- Why not? Why not? Why not? as they say repeatedly in that commercial?
My take on the questions is that, yes, 2019 will be a watershed, a defining year in Nigeria’s history. Some may say that the political terrain on this Independence Day 2018 does not look rosy or promising because the actions, events and utterances of many of our political actors do not seem to indicate that many of them – and us too – have learnt our lessons. However, the onus is on the electorate to make the right choices and not be influenced by tribe, money or religion; let this be a clarion call for all hands to be on deck to make certain we do not fall into the trap of the past.
The leaders we elect next February will determine the country’s direction and where we will be for at least four years. When they take office, we should expect that they would put their act together in at least one year for us to have the hope and confidence that we can pull out of the woods and be on even keel from 2020.
2020 is a perfect number. It is the number you reference when talking about perfect vision. There are also major references spiritually and biblically to the number 2020. It is therefore not out of place to hope for a turnaround in the year 2020 for this great country. If it happens before then, of course it will be cause to rejoice and be glad. That’s why we ought to be ready for 2019. Can the current leaders take us there? What of previous leaders? Or prospective leaders? The call is yours and mine.
They say a people get the leaders they deserve; therefore WE THE PEOPLE must ensure we elect the right leaders at all levels – Federal, State and Local – that will take on the task of helping us reach true nationhood. A nation of peace, harmony, abundance, justice, equity and all the other big words, is what we all dream of, I am sure. It is achievable.
What do you think? Share your wisdom on this. Can our country’s life begin at 60? Can we avoid being a still a toddler or an infant at 60?
Many countries achieved independence about the same year as Nigeria. They are miles ahead of us today. What did they do right and what have we been doing wrong? Why should we be looking longingly and jealously at economic indicators of ‘small’ Singapore, Ghana, South Korea, Botswana and even Rwanda? The People’s Republic of China which shares 1st October with Nigeria as its Independence Day was founded as a country in 1949, just 11 years before us. See where they are today. That’s another story for this our Independence Week.
Once again, a happy Independence Day to us all.
0 Comments on “NIGERIA AT 58 – AN ADULT, A TODDLER OR STILL AN INFANT?”
This is very educating in Nigeria epa keep the good work
In marriage we are taught to understand and respect our partners’ individuality. In our families, we are taught to respect every members uniqueness. In social relationships, we are taught to respect everyone’s individual values (even when they are in opposition to ours )
In Nigeria, we are being taught that we are one.
No. Until we accept our diversified differences and respect every constituent member of this nation, building a truly united Nigeria may be a day dream.
Please don’t get me wrong; I’m not preaching breakup rather I’m preaching true federalism.
Diverse civilizations (like Nigeria) have better chances of surviving global health, social, emotional upheavals. I believe that achieving good from our diversity will only be posible in a truly federal system without power (and money) concentrated at the centre. Then we would have removed the “it is our turn to chop” syndrome.
The “theory and practise” of quota systems and rotational presidency are archaic and unproductive.