Until 56 years ago, an independent Nigeria was only a vision of concerned people with the right concept of nationalism. After years of hard struggle and political turmoil, an independence movement succeeded in earning Nigeria its freedom from the British colonial rule on the 1st of October, 1960. Now, as a national tradition, we celebrate that great milestone every year. But like a person coming of age is left with a lot of mixed feelings on their birthday, so are Nigerians on these day. One minute you’re happy that we’re a sovereign people; the next you’re sad at how much we have gone wrong with the freedom.
Yes, this is definitely not the Nigeria Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa envisaged as he gave his Independence Declaration Speech on that day – a country drowning as a result of corruption was not the vision of the people who struggled for our sovereignty, but are we to lose all reasons to mark this special day? We should celebrate the good things about Nigeria, while reflecting on how to make things right. It is our country, through thick and thin – If we don’t celebrate it, nobody will do it for us, SO;
Let’s celebrate that Nigeria is as resilient as a cat with nine lives. Take a look at our history — only 6years after seceding we succumbed to military rule which was trailed by a bloody coup d’état. Then the Republic of Biafra was formed in 1967, leading to the three-year Nigerian Civil War, which we came out of, though wounded, to become a republic once again. However, the republic was fugitive, when the military led by Major General Muhammadu Buhari seized again. Then he was overthrown and a new republic was founded in August 1993, but was dissolved once again by General Sani Abacha in November that same year. After Abacha’s death in 1998, a fourth republic was established the following year, finally paving the way for peaceful democracy today. Other nations never believed Nigeria would survive as a single viable entity, they foresaw a nation ending with a civil war, prophesied our demise, a big catastrophic split with cataclysmic results. But here we are 56 years on and we are still standing as a united independent nation. Terrorists came and are still here, diseases came, recession followed suit, yet we are still moving on.
Let’s celebrate that our country is the most culturally diverse in Africa. 56 years on and were still loyal to our culture. A country where people can get completely different experiences in different locations, which is one thing that most developed countries cannot boast of.
Let’s celebrate the Nigerian talent which has gained tremendous recognition worldwide. That unlike other ancient countries, our music, movies, art and literature can still compete with the best of the bests. Other nations have come to see us as connoisseurs in those fields, and if we can achieve these in only 56 years then that’s worth celebrating.
Let’s celebrate the natural splendor that is Nigeria. Stretching from the Obudu Hills of the southeast through the beaches into the rainforest regions of the Lagos basin, the vast land-scape of the country has beneficial natural splendors to explore. We are an investment haven, no wonder foreign telecommunication companies, Oil companies, construction companies, fast food businesses are trooping in here to invest.
Let’s celebrate that we are a blessed nation in all ramifications. In all our 56 years of existence there have been no devastating natural disasters. Even Mother Nature smiles on us. We have very favorable weather – The rain is not as annoying as in Seattle, The sun is not as scalding as in Arizona, the cold is not as numbing as in Alaska, and for those who live close to the coast, the breeze from the Atlantic Ocean is a blessing.
Let’s celebrate our Natural resources; our arable, overly fertile lands – even though we are not utilizing them now, but when we do decide to, there will be no stopping this country.
Let’s celebrate that Nigerians are a great people. A very optimistic and talented people. A smart, resourceful and goal-driven lot. We are lively, ecstatic with a great sense of humor always finding ways to amuse ourselves even in the midst of all the troubles. Nigerians are very innovative, we perfect whatever we adopt and with the right resources we can reach the stars –Obioma’s can become fashion designers, the highway hawkers that can outrun cars can become athletes, our danfo drivers can win formula 1 car races, out mama put can become world class chefs. Plus the Naija struggle has made us able to cope no matter where or in what situation we find ourselves.
Conclusively, we need to note that Nigeria is not ‘dead in the water’ yet. Grow we can, grow we must, we just need to care, people and leaders alike. The truth is, our problems are human caused not nature caused and these problems can be fixed with ‘purgatives’ – Purge the nation of corruption and greed, and practice true nationalism, then we’d be an even greater nation.
Therefore citizens, Hoist your Nigerian flag today, with pride.
Happy Independence Day to us all from Citizen Confidential.
Written by Ivharue Ofe