Nigeria at 60: Before we celebrate

As the nation Nigeria approach another independent day anniversary, making it 60 years of its existence as a sovereign nation, looking back to the past, examining the present and envisaging the future there are many things that comes to the mind of the average Nigerian, many more to be thankful for as the nation has survived (though with bruises) many incidents which could have led the nation to secession among its federating units.

The independence of the nation Nigeria 60 years ago has believed by many came on a platter of Gold has it was not heralded by any long years of guerrilla welfare or any sort of violence as recorded in many African countries like South Africa, Sudan and many others. However the independence of the nation Nigeria brought immense joy to its citizens, who were happy and joyous at the sight of the realization of a self-governance away from the confines of the British rule which had exploited the people of their resources, undermined their significance and importance. Putting myself in the shoes of the nation’s nationals that fought for the self-actualization and independence of the nation Nigeria, and also in the shoes of the various Nigerian who saw in their lifetime the actualization and the fulfillment of the age long dream and aspiration, more importantly I feel that for most of them their feeling of excitement is more centered on the thought of a nation which is just birthed, and in the view of its diverse potentials, its numerous mineral resources as well as its massive manpower arising from its high number of inhabitants.

The nation Nigeria was regarded as the most populous black nation on earth and arising from this, it gave the nation a numerical advantage which bolstered its manpower. It will also be recalled that few years before the actualization of the nation’s independence, the nation’s economy and status on the international scene was greatly bolstered with the discovery of crude oil in the Oloibiri, Rivers State in the year 1958. Arising from this, the region otherwise known as the Niger Delta area brought to the nation great fortunes as its financial wits greatly increased as the nation joined the leagues of the petroleum exporting countries of the world.

Adding to this, prior to the discovery of the crude oil in Nigeria, the nation financial wits was riding on the wings of the wealth created by the harnessing of the Agricultural sector of the nation. A major chunk of the nation’s wealth was derived from the Agricultural sector. As a result of the rich and fertile soil in many parts of the nation, the nation became a major exporting nation as it exported in large quantities Palm oil, Coconut, Cocoa, Rubber and many other cash crops to other nations of the world.

Coupled with the emerging elites from the new generation that came with the nation’s independence in the year 1960, there’s more to hope for. More to be happy for, the sheer realization that the nation had all it needed to build on its independence to etch for itself a great nation for the future generations must have been a soothing one, well pleasing in the thoughts of the various sons and daughters of the Nigerian nation.

I were them, or part of that generation,I would have carried the gongs and cymbals rejoicing at the birth of an emerging world power. One that’s to come forth from the continent that was regarded as a savage nation where its people were nothing but primitive with no feature worthy to be attributed to that of a human being properly called.

Years long gone, generations passé, new moons same old ageless sun, the nation celebrates another anniversary, it’s 60 years of existence. Pondering on the rich history of the nation, it’s quite pathetic to realize that there’s less to show for the nation’s once rich history, one that was filled with so many hope and tall dreams of a black nation enroute to becoming a world power.

It’s once rich and money agricultural sector has been left and neglected on the first sight of crude oil as many from the nook and cranny of the nation came to have a bite at this national wealth, filling their bellies to the brim, growing protruded bellies; covered by heavily starched Agbada leaving the masses and the land malnourished.

The once exporting nation of various agricultural produce now live and exist in the story of what would have been the case if we had leaders who were selfless and committed to the process of growth started by our first crop of leaders in the nation.

A producing nation has turned within a twinkle of an eye to a heavy consuming nation, its giants and tall functioning numerous industries gas turned moribund as they have been neglected by various government in the history of the nation leaving many people jobless, while we resort to buying and importing from other nations. Things that we could have easily produced, commercialize to boost our economy for the greater good of all. Coupled with this the pathetic situation of the nation led to the exit of many international brand that had created giant industries in the nation for neighboring African countries.

It failure to properly harness the rich deposit of the crude oil over these years led to the further anguish and pains of the people. It’s pathetic to realize that the Nation has been unable to create a functioning refinery over these years as it depends on other nations of the world to refine its crude oil leaving them to buy what they sold cheap to them at exorbitant price.

The nation’s fuel price has continued to rise ever since with no hope of it ever coming down. The outbreak of the novel virus has once again revealed the true State of the nation as the nation has been seen not to have the capacity to manage situations such as the one heralded by the covid-19 pandemic. The nation’s economy is on another brink of having an economic recession, one that has been described by the World Bank to having the potency of being the heaviest in the last 40 years.

It’s once promising generation of elites that came with the nation’s independence and subsequent ages has chosen to draw back to the shadows leaving the nation’s leadership scene to vagabonds and people with no substance to rule. The current political scene of the nation which is characterized with various ills and maladministration is a testament to this.

Economy is failing, the health sector is falling, the nation’s educational sector is in an pathetic and abject state of digression as the system is now noted for churning out half-baked graduates with no value or skill to survive outside the society realities or contribute positively to the growth of the society.

Many more ills and sorry hurting tales to count, the nation celebrates once again, we are about rolling out the drums in celebration: but then we must as ourselves what it is that we celebrate. I guess we can say the luck of the nation of staying afloat, surviving the torrents brought by its inability to chart a good course for its progress or give itself crops of leaders that are committed to its growth process.

An anniversary logo has been unveiled by the presidency, national funds will be used in celebrating, again we must ask, all these in celebrating what?

 

By Marcus Amudipe

September 23, 2020

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