“Nigeria at 50”, is it worth Celebrating?

In about four months from now, Nigeria will be celebrating fifty years of Independence as a Sovereign Nation. The Federal,States and Local Governments, have all planned elaborate Celebrations to mark this all important milestone in our journey of nationhood . The question that comes to mind is “Is there anything to celebrate?” Depending on an individual’s point of view, this question will elicit different responses, for me as someone

who has spent well over thirty years in this Nation, my answer is YES on one hand and NO on the other hand, The only reason why I can say yes is that inspite of all odds, the Entity Nigeria still remains one even though we are not united.

Perhaps the reason why we have not been able to get to the promise land is because the forces that tend to tear us apart (Centrifugal Forces) far outweighs the forces that tend to bind us together (Centripetal Forces).If you take a look at countries that are making great impact in the world, you will find out that they fought for their Independence, ours was given to us on a PLATTER OF GOLD, that can explain the reason why don’t attach more value to it. In the Nigeria of today, there is no RAISON D’ETRE for our existence

South Africa is a recent example of how tortuous the road to Independence could be, Lives were lost, people went on very long exiles and many were incarcerated. The absence of selfless and purposeful leadership is the greatest plague bedeviling this great Nation. From the Local, State and Federal Level, the mostly selected and few elected leaders, have one thing in mind and that is to enrich themselves at the expense of the masses. These Leaders do not have clear cut programmes and policies to make life more meaningful for the average Nigerian. This scenario has further fuelled the apathy the average Nigerian have for electioneering activities, it is further worsened because their votes don’t count as it was evident in the last local Government Elections in Delta State. PDP won all the Chairmanship and counsellorship seats in Delta State. The Local Government is very dear to the heart of the masses because it is the Government that is nearer to them and any attempt to impose leaders that they didn’t choose impacts negatively on their psyche.

It is also imperative to point out that America which is the symbol of Democracy and Socio-economic advancement fought really hard for its Independence, after that it still had a Civil war, that their Democracy is robust today is because there is a viable opposition that constantly put the ruling party in check. In Nigeria today, we are tending towards a one party state because our ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo wanted to remain in power by all means, he supported the proliferation of political parties thereby destroying opposition which was very strong when we had just three parties namely PDP,ANPP and AD. Until our leaders recognise the need for opposition we may not make any appreciable progress. The near- absence of viable opposition is what makes the PDP led Government have its way with may of its unpopular policies.

It is however important to state here that all hope is not yet lost, inspite of our numerous problem, we can still make it only if we believe and are ready to make the necessary sacrifices for change; the change begins with us. Our attitudes have to change, there is need for us to do away with complacency and show concern in all national issues. Nigeria is our own and it will take Nigerians to repair Nigeria.

The starting point towards this national reformation is making sure that we participate actively in the 2011 elections, make sure you register and ensure that you protect your votes the days of “siddon look” is gone, let us make sure that we elect leaders who have our interest at heart and say no to money bags whose sole aim in to further pauperize us.