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‘Our fears, hopes and regrets at independence anniversary’

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As Nigeria turned 60 yesterday, some Nigerians shared their views on the milestone and expectations with Isaac Taiwo, Jesutomi Akomolafe, Afeez Odunoye, Yetunde Jeariogbe, Blessing Ogogo, Grace Uche and Benjamin Danisa

We should celebrate our past heroes for laying the foundation – Peter Alarape, student
As far as I am concerned, I think we should be celebrating our past leaders because without the foundation they laid, there wouldn’t be this house called Nigeria. They are our foundation. We have to celebrate them because the achievement isn’t something to take with levity.

Nationalists like Anthony Enahoro and Obafemi Awolowo played crucial roles on the journey to our independence. I think Nigeria should really celebrate these leaders and other past heroes. I am expecting a lot of things from this government because it seems there isn’t much to show for their efforts. They should improve on people-driven projects and programmes. 

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Nothing exciting to celebrate – Joel Olaosebikan, student
There is nothing worth celebrating as the country is in a shambles. Only God can save her. ASUU has been on strike for seven months now and nothing has been done to help the situation.

I am supposed to have started my NYSC, but the strike has delayed me. I remember the time when a bag of rice cost N7,000 some five years ago, not ages. Now, it goes for about N25,000 and it is not quality rice. The police are terrorizing the youths; it is a crime to dress well and also walk around freely as you may have to cough out money to bail yourself.
 
We will be truly independent when things change – Judith Ogodo
There is nothing to celebrate because the country is getting worse each day. Nothing seems to be going right. We claim to be independent, but we are still banking on countries like USA and China to get things done in our economy. Rather than marking years, we should, as a nation, be celebrating the beginning of new things, of doing things right and placing priories right in fairness to all regions that make up the nation.

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The situation calls for weeping – Pastor Alfred Ajifowowe, G. O. Evangelical Christ Apostolic Church
If not that we have been counselled in the Bible to pray for our Jerusalem and prophesy good things unto our country, I will agree with Baba Obasanjo and Prof. Soyinka that Nigeria is a failed country at 60. The situation today calls for serious concern, prayer and even weeping. Nigerians should weep for the country’s stagnancy and backwardness. We cannot even compare our country with Ghana in terms of infrastructure.
 
A time to correct bad choices and mistakes – Hassan Olanrewaju 
Nigeria at 60 should be a country where citizens understand their strength and are ready to pay the supreme sacrifice for greater attainment of the nation. Rather than keep complaining, we should, at this period, review the bad choices we have made as a nation and work towards correcting them. Our leaders should change from the mindset of lies.
 
We are marking time, not progress – Dr Ebenezer Ademola
The country today is divided by ethnicity, religion and social class, which was worse than the conditions under which we sought for independence. The celebration is more or less like a routine that does not have any significant contribution on the life of the masses until the country is united, and we all continue to live and work together as one. Anything short of that, we will only be marking time, not progress as a nation.
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To move forward, it’s time to address agitations – Chief Ogbuefi Akomua Ikebude, Coordinator General, Mandilas Business Owner’s Association, said:
“Nigeria at 60 is worth celebrating despite the challenges she is facing. For the country to move forward, there must be one or two agitations, which need to be addressed; not denying it does not exist. The government should look into the various agitations because united we stand, divided we fall.”
 
No ordinary citizen is celebrating – Atanda Usman
Nigeria was a great country before she got independence. When we were young, we were taught to believe that it is a great country, but not again. Nothing seems to be working anymore. The leadership seems to take delight in inflicting extreme hardship on the citizens, while the politicians and public office holders are enjoying public funds with their families. The fact is, no ordinary citizen is celebrating Nigeria’s independence.
 
We are celebrating independence amid hunger– Abeke Muraina, trader
What are we celebrating? As a matter of fact, the coronavirus is still very much with us. There is no money, and there is really nothing to inspire happiness. We are celebrating independence but there is hunger in the land. It makes you want to compare the country with a toddler because things are stagnant at 60. I am not in support of commemorating this kind of anniversary. The government should fix the country. The masses are hungry and suffering. They should support the farmers more because when we have farm produce in abundance, we will feed well and be satisfied. Every one of us deserves peace of mind.

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