igeria marked her 61st birthday as a sovereign nation some few days back and it calls for a sober reflection rather than jubilation. Though, It is human nature to celebrate special days of the year, achievements, accomplishment, success, but have you ever seen anyone celebrate failures, collapse, decays, poverty, etc. If you ask me, I have never seen such a ‘celebration’ in my entire life here on earth. In the case of Nigeria, a grand celebration took place in the midst of a failed state, insecurity, and what have you. And it might interest you to know that a whole lot was put into this Independence Day celebration –budget worth in the millions was put forward for a mere ‘celebration’ while people die of hunger due to over 500% in food price hike (that is if you ever come across the commodity in the market).
As a Nigerian, I believe that Independence Day was more than just a celebration of independence; it was also an empty valorization of a country entrenched with suffocating sociopolitical identities, histories, and realities. It was a day that should have signaled the start of a glorious nationhood for us as Nigerians. However, we rejoice in the creation of a dependent country from a slew of uncoordinated circumstances for a variety of reasons.
Despite Nigeria’s tremendous natural resources, it is unfortunate that the country remains so devastated and backward. You cannot expect anything less than growth in a country gifted with intelligent, talented people, even in countries that are not as well-off as ours. Some countries became independent years after we did. Turkmenistan, for example, is a Central Asian country that gained independence in 1991. While Slovakia gained independence in 1992, the Czech Republic, historically known as Bohemia, did so in 1993. After their independence, all of these countries began to understand its existence. What is the matter with us? Despite 61 years of independence, why is Nigeria still the way it is?
Unarguably, a lack of clear vision in the country’s formation, a predicament that has exacerbated the scourge of incompetent leadership, sums up why Nigeria is in such a bad state now. I am not going to bore you with historical references to prove my thesis. Nigeria bleeds freely, from a cornucopia of unnecessary religious and ethnic rivalries to our rulers’ insincerity and the overall denigration of Nigerians’ common bonds.
Our authorities, as is customary, are not blameless when it comes to Nigeria’s sorry state. It is perilous when saboteurs are in charge of a country. We have accepted the fact that Nigeria exists because of a hazy political theory crafted by people who had the foresight, capacity, or willingness to serve the country. It is an undeniable fact that those who make up our political establishment just care about themselves. A cosmopolitan makeover of our administration is required before this country can begin to consider true independence.
“The first task of the doctor is… political; the struggle against disease must begin with a war against bad government. Only by first being liberated can man be completely and permanently cured”, said Paul-Michel Foucault, the celebrated French philosopher, historian, literary critic, and political activist. This means that, in order for Nigeria to thrive, it must first and foremost be freed from its ineffective and shallow governance. Under the stewardship of ruthless and greedy rulers, no country can advance.
By inference, having a bad government supports the army of vices that has become our reality. Needless to say, the current wave of civil unrest, banditry, and kidnappings wreaking havoc on Nigeria is aggravated by our political system’s complete lack of honesty. The government’s statement to unemployed youth that they should not expect anything from it reveals a lot about the country’s problem.
As a result of this generational gap, which has been exacerbated by vast unemployment and underemployment, Nigeria’s image has been severely tarnished, to the point where visitors are no longer interested in visiting the nation. The country is now despised by many outsiders. Nigeria has been viewed by foreign investors as a sleazy criminal haven which results in the country’s terrible circumstances. Our universities, which had previously drawn foreign students’ attention, are now seen as unable to help them achieve their goals. The country’s magnificent international reputation is therefore contingent on a shift in our political thought within the country.
What do you call a country whose destiny is defined by an unquantifiable outflow of bright young people to other countries on a daily basis? Despite the fact that it appears unjustified, the truth demonstrates the extent to which the Nigerian state has failed the people. Only God knows how many Nigerians leave the country every day in quest of better living conditions in other parts of the world. This is because, although being ostensibly free of colonial stress, our motherland has failed to meet and prioritize the people’s needs and ambitions.
Of course, it can be argued also that Nigerians (common man) are not exonerated from the country’s plight. In fact, we are contributing to the issues. Our haphazard relationship with our country, Nigeria, typified by a lack of patriotism, togetherness, and a shared goal, jeopardizes Nigeria’s very existence. Nigerians choose to vote bad individuals into power on the altar of unfair advantage because of the infectious hypocrisy that unifies us. No one seems to care about discipline or the country’s future, perhaps because we know that a few people have turned our country into a shopping mall. Every day, more incidences of public sanity death are reported, a condition that continues to keep Nigeria at the bottom of the global rankings.
Beyond that, a 61-year-old country is engulfed in indescribable xenophile. Our passion for the foreign and contempt for what is ours is one of the stupid flaws unbecoming of a country this old. Nigeria has mostly relied on several of the conquerors’ legacies since October 1, 1960. We have not yet got the strength to begin slicing diamonds from our vast resources. We cling to foreign help as a means of survival rather than harnessing the skills of our graduates in fields such as engineering, medicine, and so on. Our oblivious administrations offer capital-intensive contracts to foreign contractors, limiting Nigerians’ potential and giving the wrong message to outsiders about our educational institutions. Worse, President Muhammadu Buhari, who campaigned on a vow to cut wasteful expenditure when he was elected, is now the most popular tourist in the United Kingdom for medical procedures not accessible in Nigeria. Several other members of his administration have received large public-sector investments in foreign countries. How are we going to improve our country if we do not have faith in it?
As a result, on the occasion of Nigeria’s Independence Day this year, the country must retrace its steps. We must understand that we are not actually an independent country. When we start believing in Nigeria, we can start talking about independence in practical terms. Our administration should make a fresh start. Politicians should stop viewing politics as a money-making endeavour and instead be driven by the state’s common good. In the national interest, a new mindset is required, particularly in relation to our constitution, so that Nigeria can be governed according to the law. To put it another way, governance should be founded on equity and equality. This will undoubtedly eliminate the noises.
Unemployment and underemployment are less of a worry in a country that has achieved true independence. Reworking our educational system is a requirement. We must begin to sanitize our curricula and make them relevant to the demands of the twenty-first century, as it is a fact that no country can progress more than its education quality. To turn our schools into manufacturers of quality, ready-made graduates, we must abandon outdated, dull approaches and embrace technologically propelled ones.
Above all, there is no denying that lawlessness pervades Nigeria. Everyone is now a king as a result of this. Those in positions of power should embrace sincerity to put an end to this. People lacking the ability to lead should be removed from the political firmament, and visionary and competent people should be placed in important areas of the country. The ridiculous “it-is-who-you-know” culture that is currently paralyzing the country should be absolutely rejected. For Nigeria’s prosperity, we need a new vision formed out of the synergy between good leaders and patriotic people. Nigeria, may you live. May our beloved country achieve GREATNESS!