October 1st 2019, was yet another Independence Day for Nigeria and her citizens. On that day, Nigeria clocked 59 years as a sovereign independent nation.
As usual, the day was marked with various activities and by individuals and groups, with events ranging from prayer sessions, carnivals, road shows, march past for school children, and the national broadcast by President Mohammadu Buhari.
Although many believed that after 59 years as an Independent Nation, not much have been achieved in terms of socio-economic and political development, others argued that the fact that the country is still united as one entity is something that is worth celebrating.
When put side-by-side with other nations that got their independence around the same time with Nigeria, it remains an incontrovertible truth that Nigeria is one of the least developed.
In her 59 years of self rule, the country is still battling to feed, secure, empower, employ, educate and give her citizens the reason to be proud as citizens of their country, historically celebrated as “giant of Africa”.
In today’s Nigeria, life has lost its taste, hunger is on the increase, the citizens are becoming poorer by the day, there are more than 13 million children out of school in the country, and worse still, insecurity has made life a living-hell for many Nigerians.
It is expected that for a country so blessed like Nigeria, maternal and child mortality should be a thing of the past, power supply would have been constant, the roads would have been far better, infrastructural development would have been at the point where the country will no longer be referred to as developing, but a developed country.
There is no doubt that corruption has been one of the main reasons the country has not made progress in development in the last 59 years. No doubt, the citizenry are putting up with incalculable disappointment. Hence the celebration was rather too shabby, and with negative reactions from many citizens. This should be a wake up call to those entrusted with the collective wealth of citizens of Nigeria, to have a rethink and redirect their steps. This appears most crucial if the frustrations and vexations of the populace is not to translate into further national crisis.
The leaders must as a matter of urgency begin to fix round pegs in round holes, promote merit and discourage mediocrity, create strong institutions, instead of strong men, promote justice and human rights, create an enabling environment for the proper distribution of the wealth of the nation in a manner that makes every Nigerian proud.
On the other hand, borrowing from the words of President Mohammadu Buhari in his Independence Day broadcast, Nigerians must turn away from their lawlessness and become law abiding citizens, show patriotism, promote unity and shun any action or utterance that will further divide the country instead of uniting it.
To be sure, the task of taking Nigeria to the height it deserves is not only for the political class and public office holders, but every Nigerian, every sector of the country is called upon to work had at its best, so that the current negative indices against the country will be reversed to the positive. God bless Nigeria.