Nigeria at 60: Is There Anything Worth Celebrating?

The big question for many Nigerians is whether there is anything worth celebrating. Is there any reason for celebration as Nigeria marks 60 years of nationhood? Also, is there any hope for a better Nigeria?

Nigeria gained independence on October 1, 1960, and it has been a pretty long, rough way coming. With 6 geo-political zones, 36 states, a federal capital territory, and 774 local councils, there seems to be a struggle to keep many ethnic groups united and satisfied. This has been a significant challenge over the years, and it has birthed more challenges. There has been high ethnic and religious tension. Although the country’s future depends on how the government maintains unity in diversity, the political system seems to fuel the ethnic and religious tension instead of foster unity. Aside from promoting and capitalizing on the divide, those in government have deeply plundered the nation’s resources of the country, making life harder for most Nigerians as citizens are getting poorer by the day.

Corruption seems to have become the norm. Even the agency designed to curb corruption appears to be a tool for witch-hunt with an enabling space for corruption for those who can bribe their way out or those in support of the ruling party. What we seem to have is the opposite of what Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), promised as ‘change’, during the 2015 campaign.

We seem to be at a stage when the Nigerian life, especially those of the poor or struggling, barely has any value. There is wild insecurity, police brutality, corruption, senseless killings, bad leadership, kidnapping, nepotism, and many issues that need to be addressed and resolved.

 When considering Nigeria’s achievements since independence, there seems to little to celebrate. However, we cannot deny the fact that there are some things worth celebrating. Since independence, Nigerians have been exceptional with various winnings in arts, entertainment, sports, and other spheres. Out of this country, there are outstanding personalities like Chinua Achebe, one of the greatest writers across the globe; Wole Soyinka, a Nobel Laureate; Jay-Jay Okocha, an exceptional footballer; Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, a music icon; Anthony Joshua, a global boxing champion; Aliko Dangote, an industrialist and the richest black man in the world; and several other personalities.

 As Nigeria celebrates its 60th independence, it is a good time to discuss the way forward. According to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, “Fortunately for us, our walls are not yet broken, but there are obvious cracks that could lead to a break if not properly addressed.” This means that there is a need for damage control to fix these walls and keep the nation standing. According to Kingsley Moghalu, a former deputy governor of the Central of Bank Nigeria and a former presidential candidate, “Nigeria has some of the world’s best brains, but we remain poor because there is a disconnect between our brains and their knowledge, and our politics, government and governance. Linking the two, so our brains can work for our progress, is our biggest challenge.”

Looking back, the future seems uncertain for Nigeria. However, suppose we can remove this disconnect, create a conducive business environment, eradicate corruption, and establish a genuinely functional system. In that case, there is likely hope for the country, and we would eventually have more things to celebrate in the future. It is crucial that it is not up to only the government to fix Nigeria; even you, as a citizen, have a role to play. We all have our roles to play towards the kind of country we envisage.

As we hope for a better Nigeria, we, at Elsieisy Blog, wish all Nigerians Happy Independence! God bless Nigeria!

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