Nigeria At 52: Celebration In Reflection

Posted: September 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

By Kingsley Ahanonu

Fifty-two years ago, on d first of October, 1960, this nation gained independence from d British colonialists. That day, d efforts of our founding fathers cum great nationalists were crowned with d morning glory; d victory of nationalism over imperialism. Their dream of self determination became a reality. Their hopes were enlivened and their future became certain.

That historic day, d domineering Union Jack that decorated d high places of authority all over d land was brought down and d lively Green and White, d Nigerian flag was victoriously hoisted accompanied by great jubilation all through d length and breadth of d land. Jubilation and celebration for a victory achieved for a better and brighter tomorrow; a future to be overseen and spearheaded by Nigerians themselves. Thereupon, a new phase of dream was initiated; one filled with great hopes and expectations.

For this reason, d leaders of d first republic managed d affairs of government with prudence and unwavering zest, driven by a sense of patriotism and zeal in d believe of laying a formidable foundation and to achieve a nation of their dreams. A nation that would grow to become a world class economy and d envy of other African nations nay d world; a nation were its citizens would live in total harmony and brotherliness. One in which its people would come to appreciate themselves irrespective of tribe, religion or political affiliations.

Today, d entire citizenry of this great nation celebrates fifty-two solid years of independence! Today, we commemorate that momentous day when d baton of leadership was wholly handed over to Nigerians themselves. And today, we are marking fifty and two years of taking our common destiny as a nation into our hands.
There is need to celebrate. Fate has given us enough reason to rejoice. With d mounting pressures that sprang to pull us apart in d dark years, we weathered through d storm and remained ever united. But, amidst d euphoria, it is important we paused to ponder awhile. If our fallen heroes and nationalists like Herbert Macaulay, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Pa Anthony Enahoro etc. who strove so hard to win us independence were to be alive, would they also be celebrating over what this country has achieved thus far; after 52 years of self-rule? What about those legends like Amb. Maitama Sule, etc. who are here with us today, would they affirm that they are fortunate to have witnessed this anniversary in their lifestime? Or better, would they beat their chests and congratulate themselves for sending the White man packing seeing d feats this nation has achieved? These are issues we must really
ruminate upon.

Looking back at 1st October,1960, it was a remarkable day. This was so because our heroes past envisaged that say, within 50 years of independence, with Nigerians being in full sway of their national affairs, this country would’ve ranked among d developed economies. But where is that noble vision? It seems it was severed along d way. Or possibly, it began to diminish as time progressed. Otherwise, what could be said of d sordid states that pervade d whole land. Why d discontentment that has led to incessant tribal cum religious conflicts in most parts of d country? Why d continuous appearance of Nigeria amongst d severely poor and most corrupt countries of d world by Transparency International and co annual indexes.
Moreso, why the incessant power crisis which is far from steering d economy to growth. And d continuous wallowing of most Nigerians in abject poverty in d midst of affluence? that over 90% of the population barely live on 2 USD per day!

Coming to d educational sector, it is well beyond d expectations of our past heroes; d sector has decayed and is in shambles. When Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe established UNN, his vision was not to find d sector in this mess it has been plunged.

Generally, as a nation we have failed and fallen short of our heroes expectations. The labors of our heroes-past are almost becoming vain. With d abundant human and natural resources at our disposal, this country has swerved. The long period of military rule nay our disunity and corrupt tendencies have kept us in d doldrums.

Howbeit, this is not to assert that 52 years is not worth celebrating. Not at all. Rather, it is to enable us reflect over our achievements as a nation over these years; a period of stock-taking. A period for all of us individually to think of what to contribute towards reclaiming d lost glory.

Hopefully, inspite of these, Nigeria can still rise again and soar as envisioned by our fathers. She has d potentials: she has d resources and d wherewithal. With d will to serve and total dedication on d part of our leaders, we can retrace d lost track.
[To b contd..]

By Kingsley Ahanonu

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