Again, it is time for celebrating the nation’s independence anniversary.
As the celebrations gather momentum, we have mixed feelings concerning
the existing state of affairs under successive Nigerian rulers, 52 years after.
First, we observe that the country is not yet a nation but perhaps a mere
geographical expression as postulated by the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Ethnic nationalities are still very prominent in the country. A nation has to
have certain things in common. These could be customs, culture, history,
ideology, language, religion, adversity, hopes, fears, aspirations, system of
local administration or land tenure system. Where such strands exist, national
integration is enhanced and the task of nation-building made comparatively
easier. Where they are non-existent, they have to be created as cohesive and
integrative materials for the nation.
It has, however, not been total tales of woe. It is gratifying to note that some
Nigerians have demonstrated that they can stand on a par with their foreign
counterparts in the business of national economic development, as
epitomised by Alhaji Aliko Dangote of the Dangote Group and Chief Mike
Adenuga of Globacom. Many other Nigerians have also triumphed eminently
in their chosen fields—science, arts, humanities, technology, engineering, to
mention but a few.
However, the existing situation as regards the plight of the common Nigerians
as distinct from the very privileged few is precarious, to say the least. The
majority of Nigerians are reported to be living under the poverty level. Our
economic programmes from General Olusegun Obasanjo’s low profile, through
Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s austerity measures, General Ibrahim Babangida’s
Structural Adjustment Programme, Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua’s 12-point agenda
to the current Transformation Agenda of the present administration have not
significantly improved the economic fortunes of Nigerians. The poor are
getting poorer while the so-called middle class has been virtually wiped out.
Our infrastructure has become decadent in all sectors—power, energy,
transportation, health and education, to mention but a few. Our only surviving
grace is that, despite our predicament, the nation still remains one and we
have not been dragged into war even in the face of the current terrible
security challenges. Secondly, we have maintained, albeit tortuously, 12 years
of uninterrupted civilian rule even if we cannot call it a proper “democratic
Our problems have largely been attributed to the failure of leadership. Pundits
are also of the opinion that the citizenry have failed to elect credible persons
to positions of power and authority. The result is the recurring cycle of poverty
among the generality of Nigerians. The right solutions to Nigeria’s problems
could only be found through sacrifice, practical understanding and mature
consideration at all times, as to what is ultimately the best for the nation. We
must all rise in absolute loyalty and forthrightness to redeem the nation by
showing concern and defending its peace, stability and territorial integrity. It is
in peace and quiet that we can have progress and prosperity.
Nigeria, as the largest African nation, is crucial to the resolution of Africa’s
problems. If Nigeria fails to make the mark politically, economically and
socially, this would have negative impacts on the ability of any black nation to
make it. There is no doubt that if our bounteous resources are judiciously
harnessed and utilised to the benefit of our people, Nigeria is bound in time to
become a country of which every black (wo)man can be proud.
Our efforts at national integration and instilling of patriotism and nationalism
must go beyond the singing of the national anthem and the reciting of the
national pledge. The unity and stability of Nigeria must be predicated on
justice and equity for all. Our defined national purpose must seek to correct
the present tendency to segment rather than integrate the various sectors of
our national life. Our defined national purpose must resolve the issue of
organising the economy for greater productivity. We need to be empirical and
scientific in our response to very grave issues of national development, rather
than allowing sentiments of ethnic affiliations to hold and weigh our nation
down. We need to build an assured, humanistic and bright future for us and
our children.
Only a carefully thought out programme can lay the foundation for our
eventual emergence as a first-class nation that is sustained by a technology-
driven economy and a highly motivated citizenry. The other important
requirement, the leadership factor, would come in as a fitting complement to
the programme. What has continued to elude us as a nation has been the
absence of a well-defined national programme, built and organised around a
motivating sense of national purpose. The development of the Nigerian
nation, over the past five decades, has largely been characterized by political
instability, economic dependence and the absence of visionary, disciplined,
purposeful and responsible national leadership. Everyone knows that this
country is abundantly blessed with vast human and material resources. If
adequately harnessed and utilised, these resources are capable of sustaining
a productive and dynamic national economy as well as a free and prosperous
In spite of the numerous challenges, we congratulate all Nigerians as we
remain one and indivisible nation at 52 and wish the nation well.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.