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Nigeria at 57: The way forward

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Sir: Seven years ago, Nigeria celebrated half a century of independence. In an individual’s life, that would be 50 years of growth from a toddler to maturity. The so-called “golden jubilee” at which success or progress is measured and celebrated for us was with mixed feelings. Nigeria had been appreciated in 1960 as an emerging black nation with one of the best potentials for greatness. This lofty hopes and expectations that the “giant of Africa” was born to blaze a trail of ascendancy of the black race and African people can now best be described as a mirage.

Today, in a global world where we were supposed to be a major player, we can only be compared with some of the world’s least endowed countries. In spite of our abundant resources, we are now classified as one of the world’s poorest countries where over 70 per cent of our citizens live on less than a US dollar a day. Poverty has grown so exponentially that, in comparative terms, life in the 60’s was a lot more tolerable for most Nigerians than it is today. Our nation has been fumbling so tragically that practically all institutions and infrastructures have virtually collapsed as a result of crippling corruption that seems to have grown into a national identity.

The idea of Nigeria’s independence celebration became controversial in recent years. Some were opposed to it because they cannot see what there is to celebrate. However, while I admit that there had been serious cases of needless failures in the past, the fact that Nigeria is still holding together after all our calamities is sufficient reason to celebrate. 57 years in a nation’s existence should not just be a time of sober reflection but a celebration of some sort. Every journey starts with the first small step. The journey to a new Nigeria after over half a century of independence must consciously and collectively begin.

Nigerians subscribed to change during the 2015 general elections. This is the time to change from disappointments to opportunities. The time to say goodbye to politics of hatred and give way to freedom of expression, good governance and accountability that will provide greatest avenue for great development. It is time to promote a Nigeria where its age long motto of “unity and faith, peace and progress” will have practical meanings to all citizens; oneness, harmony, trust, understanding, reconciliation and development in all regions. Ethnic and religious violence should no longer be an issue.

Together we can make all these happen and reclaim our lost glory and hope for a brighter future.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Rev. Samson Ozovehe, Executive Secretary, Christians United for Israel Prayer Outreach Nigeria Inc.


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