1 Oct 2016

9 Reasons to Celebrate Nigeria at 56

By Kingsley Okechukwu

One cool evening, while studying a book, I came across a line that said “Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our heart unto wisdom”. Immediately, I paused to meditate on it and with the latest news and happenings in Nigeria, it dawned on me that the greatest challenge we have as a people is that we fail to understand the times, days and seasons we are in, so as to apply wisdom to our actions.

Like many countries, organizations, groups and individuals, a new anniversary is a time to reflect on past years; successes and failures, losses and gains in order to re-position and re-strategize for better and more desirable future results.

As a country, we have come a long way in years and strengths and it will not be too much to celebrate the little wins and victories, as we celebrate our Independence on the sweat and bloods of our Heroes past, who fought to secure our release as it were from our generous masters, Great Britain.

On October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained her Independence, the very day Britain ended more than a century of imperial domination. The birth of Nigeria was heralded with the Green and White Flag fluttering in the cold, misty October night symbolizing the aspirations of millions who had looked forward with hope to the end of British rule with promises of a brighter future.

At independence, the young Nation was expected to play a leading role in the world; it was expected to be a future economic and political powerhouse and the pride of the Black race, however, that was 56 years ago.

Today, the dream of a great Nation has become a nightmare. It has been 56 years of a failed, or failing dream to many. Hopes have turned to disillusionment; frustration and anger are widespread across the land. The dream at independence seems to be deferred.

We are more divided today than we were at independence. Terrorism and religious fanaticism as well as ethnic fanaticism which have given rise to disparate ethnic groups, spread across the country. There seem to be no available Nigerian jobs. Insecurity of life and property, economic recession and poverty, corruption and mismanagement characterize our democracy.

There are many that believe that Nigeria as a 56 year old man has gone through a lot and does not deserve to be celebrated because of his inability to fulfil his potential, in line with the number of years he has lived independently.  They believe that there is actually nothing to celebrate as our Independence celebration coincides with the period the Naira suddenly became crippled before the tall standing two legged Dollar. In addition to this, the prices of goods and services have decided to travel the lane of hyper-increase alone, leaving behind her sisters’ wages and salary. The lists of anomalies are endless.

We have seen, heard and continue to hear reasons why we should not celebrate Nigeria’s Independence. True, the facts before our very eyes conflict every reason to celebrate our independence but there is an underlying truth many have failed to see.

We have every reason to celebrate Nigeria’s independence and here are a few reasons why we should:

1. In spite of the prophecy of doom by the US and other Nations of the world that Nigeria will disintegrate by 2015 cum 2016. We have defied the odds and still live together as one Nation.

2. We have also answered the question “Can anything good come out of Nigeria other than corruption and election rigging?”, disproving the negative thought behind that, to setting the standard in the 2015 general elections adjudged to be the best presidential election to be held in Africa till date.

3. Nigeria is the pioneer of the modern-day democracy in Africa.

4. We still possess the best military and police force in Africa and the 4th largest military in the world.

5. We are ranked the 3rd largest economy in Africa in spite of the fall in the price of oil which contributes to over 85% of our foreign earnings.

6. In the past looted funds were not returned but today we have people begging for the TSA number so as to return looted funds.

7. We equally have a budget devoid of padding for the first time in our democracy and that’s a plus for the Nation.

8. Thank goodness also; we have conquered the days of fuel subsidy which has given rise to the availability of fuel owing to the interaction between demand and supply.

9. More importantly we also need to celebrate ourselves at independence because we are peace-loving people, who happily go about our daily lives without brewing any storm in the cup as long as we have food to eat, clothes to wear and place to lay our heads.

Trust me when I say Nigeria is worth celebrating, fellow Nigerians.

And from a personal point of view, I like to see Nigeria as a Man and a Home.

As a man, Nigeria stands as a father to me and many who share her name. We are all called Nigerians. The fact that our Father failed to achieve his very desires and aspirations at 56 is not enough reason not to celebrate his birthday. He still remains our father.

As a home, it is my belief that the building of our home is long over-due and must be done fast. 56 years on and the construction of our home has being foot dragging. Our home is still being built at the speed of a snail, a “one year, one block” pace.

Nevertheless, should we all travel to our neighbour’s home or house (Ghana, Cameroon, Chad, Niger) to celebrate Christmas or Sallah simply because the roof of our home is heavily leaking? Certainly not! And if no, then Nigeria is worth celebrating on October 1st, 2016.

Happy Independence day Nigeria!

God Bless Nigeria!!



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