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Nigeria at 57: Is it worth celebrating or not?


By next Sunday, Nigeria would have spent 57 years on a journey to nowhere. Yet, the drums would be rolled out by the government to celebrate that day.

Nigeria like many other African countries was a colony of Britain, until it gained its independence as a sovereign state on October 1st 1960. This day is set aside yearly to celebrate the independence of Nigeria, and to look back and reflect on how far she has come and how much has been achieved.
Looking critically at the present situation of things in the country, one has to wonder, is there really any cause for celebration? Things don’t seem to be getting better, in fact, they may be getting worse in terms of security, inflation, cost and standard of living, value of the average citizen’s life, jobs, education, healthcare and so on.

A major call for concern now is the threat to the unity of the nation, as many fear it will only be a matter of time for the country before the country disintegrates.

A part of the country is calling for secession, while others want restructuring and only time would tell how much the country can absorb, and if this nation can ever be great again.

Heading to the streets to speak to Nigerians, Ayodupe Odugbo, a political analyst, told The Guardian that the country has a lot to celebrate. “We need to celebrate our unity. Whatever threat of disunity we have today, is the same we had during the formation of our nationalism which we failed to tackle back then, problems like Biafra, are just ideologies we need to clip. We don’t need restructuring at this point, Nigerians need to put Nigeria first in everything and not ethnic groups, if this ideology is promoted the county would move forward. The only solution is redefining the constitution. The cost of running the nation should be cut down, its time to cut down the salaries of government officials, let every Nigerian join in the fight against corruption. Nigerians should invest more in the economy of the country instead of boosting foreign economy.”

“The laziness and failure of our leaders is what is making them call for restructuring. Certain people want to have total control of certain resources for their selfish interest; the restructuring they are calling for is for regions to have more power. If given this power what happens next? Nobody cares. This restructuring wouldn’t bring about economic growth or development for the country; let us make the system work. The system of government has not failed us but our leaders have”.

Also speaking, Frank Udeze said, “The country is a good industrial hub because of the unanimous contributions from the six geo-political zones. What we produce in Nigeria is enough to make us wealthy and we can also export to other nations. We are prosperous and industrious and that’s an advantage we have staying together. There is nothing to celebrate about our independence; there should be development before celebrating. We hear that the recession is over, yet there is no impact or reason to believe that truly, the depression and recent hike in prices nation wide is over.”

Damilola Umar had this to say, “The country is stronger together and the only thing worth celebrating is that the people have managed to be united, and there is still hope for Nigeria, because we still have good people who can lead the country towards prosperity”.

Chizoram Nworgu a student said, “The Igbos are complaining they are being marginalized and so are the Yorubas. I would say there is nothing to celebrate other than the unity. I am in support of restructuring this country, but if the president is still bent on continuing with it’s 97% and 5% quota for allocation of federal appointments and the rest, then I see no reason remaining together as a nation.”

Ugadu Victor on his part said, “Barrack Obama once said that Nigeria is critical to the rest of the continent and if we don’t get it right, Africa will not make quick progress. Nigeria is the giant of Africa and other countries are looking up to us. I think Nigeria should remain as a nation, but the country needs God and good men to move it forward”.

“All other tribes are being sidelined in the allocation of budgets and infrastructural development. So for me, there is nothing to celebrate about Nigeria. The Igbos are always sidelined when it comes to infrastructure. I think the country will be better, if every region is on their own, because right now the Hausas are the only ones enjoying a lot in terms of political appointments and all.”

Azeez Adebiyi said, “I think it is worth celebrating. We have managed to stay united despite all the stumbling blocks as well as the different calls for break up being stoked by some individuals. Nigerians still has good men and women who can turn this country around positively, but sadly they are not in the forefront running our affairs. We still have hope, even when some people predicted that we will disintegrate in 2015 and kill each other but we are still standing.”

Anulika Akpunonu stated that the coming together of the different states has enabled the distribution of resources available in the states. “Though, it could be argued that the resources are not properly distributed but if one looks closely, this same resources get to other states and different countries. As for the independence, I don’t think we have anything to celebrate because the government has not given us anything to celebrate.”

Speaking, Oluwafunmilayo Aworeni explained that nationalism is still at the stage of truly representing its characteristics in Nigeria as most Nigerians still engage in tribalism.“We are not our brother’s keeper and this is why some are calling for division, so before we can say Nigeria is a nationalist state, there must be unity, love and a country void of corruption.”

Evelyn Ojugo, a teacher, said despite the political and economic hitches Nigerians are experiencing, they must continue to coexist peacefully with each other. Ayobami Hannah stated that restructuring is not the way forward.“If what they are calling for is going back to the system of regions, and giving this regions power, then it is a No from me. Those calling for such want it for their selfish interests.”

“Nigeria doesn’t have an identity. Starting with the name ‘Nigeria’, it was given to us by the colonial lords, which was cloned from the words ‘Niger’ and ‘area’. From the name of other nations you can depict their struggle, and what they stand for. First we have to identify as a nation, as an individual and then as a Nigerian.” “Nigerians should come together as one, be active in day to day affairs of the nation. If there is unity, there is strength, its time to put the government on its toes to deliver, and also vote for leaders based on individual leadership skill and not based on party. Nigeria should not be a matter of APC or PDP, the reason we have bad leadership in the country is because of partisan politics. For me there are only two political parties in the country, which are, the ruling class and the masses. Our politicians at whatever point in time move from party to party for their selfish interest, so while should the electorate pay allegiance to a political party when the ruling class doesn’t? If all these factors are taken into consideration the country would have many reasons to celebrate.”

Christabel Adesuyi said, “The government has made a mess of everything; hence everybody wants to abandon Nigeria. People on see Nigeria as a strong defender of Africa and her protector, but inter ethnic rivalry has reduced Nigeria to a pitiable state.”

For Tejumade Ojo the country has not gained as much as it is supposed to have from Nationalism.“There is nothing to celebrate so far. The only thing to be happy about is that there is no war yet in the country.”

“Its 2017 there is still no light, no security. After so many years, we are supposed to have gone past the era of still hoping to have a good power sector, by now we should be thinking of doing something other nations have not done in terms of creativity and technology. After several years we still can’t boast of basic amenities, there is nothing worth celebrating please.”

“What are we restructuring? The solution is to tackle youth unemployment because that is why crimes are committed, that is why people have time for Biaffa, although some of this people are greedy, lazy and uninformed, but unemployment is a major part of the problem we have today in the country. We need a Nigeria where every Nigerian will be able to afford basic amenities and things work for everyone.”

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Nigeria at 57
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