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Nigeria @ 60: A Reflection

October 1, 2020, is a day with Nigeria’s destiny. It is a day that Nigeria, the most populous black country in the world and the largest country in Africa turns 60 years. For every well meaning Nigerians it deserves a reflection.

60 years in the life of any human being matters a lot. Where things go on well, a sixty year old person is supposed to be a fairly old person, a person of wisdom, knowledge and understanding, a leader in his or her own right, a father or mother as the case may be, and even a grand parent.

At 60, one’s eyes must have seen a lot, the eyes must have seen many births, many deaths, many struggles, many failures, many challenges and of course many successes. So I think it is for Nigeria, and for many Nigerians who are about 60 years and more. Nigeria at 60, as a supposed parent or grandparent is not meeting its roles over its children.

In the sixties when Nigeria was treading its path of a decade of independence, there were lots of hopes, expectations and aspirations. Then we were made to believe that after independence our life as a people would become a kind of Eldorado where things would work perfectly well, where there would be development, where there would be love and where there would be unity.

The nation barely managed to take off when the seeds of discord sown by the colonial masters began to germinate. Nigeria moved from independence to republic in 1963 when it was expected that the people should be in full control of their lives. But reverse was the case when the politicians showed that they could not sustain the freedom passed to us as a people by the colonial masters.

Political struggles began, the politicians rather than uniting to face the new challenge of nation building and facilitating healthy rivalry were engaged in destructive rivalry among themselves. The end result was breakdown of law and order, insecurity and killings. Before we know what was happening another level of rivalry set in between the political elites. The army struck, and Nigeria was never to be the same again.

With the coming of the military Nigeria was set on another journey to the unknown. A fledging federation was reversed to a unitary system and people of different background and aspirations were merged together by the naivety of the new military lords.

There is no doubt that we started well but what the later political leaders began to build on it were not sustainable. They were the greedy and selfish lots and the situation began to get worse as we have it now.

In the 60s younger Nigerians were looking up to the politicians and other Nigerians that distinguished themselves at different levels of life as leaders to emulate. Education was the pride of younger Nigerians especially those of us from the western part of the country. Nigerians, both from the north and south were hard working and industrious.

But what do we have now? Everyday Nigerians continue to live in palpable fears and mutual suspicion. Nobody can trust any other person now, no tribe trusts any other any more. Money is the common denominator of success. The urge is to make money without minding its source. We have thus lost our moral values as a nation. Killings, maimings, kidnappings and destruction of lives and property mean nothing to us again, and they are now the order of the day as long as it brings money to the perpetrators.

Whatever happens to us as a people cannot be divulged from the politicians who have failed to lead Nigerians in the right path and towards lasting success.

The situation is even worsened by the government’s placing one ethnic group against the other. Today Hausas don’t see Yorubas and Igbos as one. It is so bad that there are different struggles for emancipation and determination of different ethnic groups. It is unlikely that Nigeria may come together as one united entity for some time to come.

Are we still hopeful? Oh yes, and how can we go about it? The onus still lies with our politicians to do the needful. Nigerians are ready to stay and work together only if the politicians are ready to take the lead.

Nigerians have been expressing how they want to stay together. Let there be more freedom and independence. Nigerians want true federalism or restructuring. Restructuring will guarantee healthy rivalry, competition, growth and development, and the people would be happy and have cause for celebration. Anything short of this would mean internal slavery and colonisation of Nigerians mentally and psychologically.

Lastly, do we continue to pray for Nigeria? Yes, of course. In my own thinking, my prayer is that the will of God prevails over Nigeria. He is the one that knows what we don’t know. He is the one that knows the end right away from the beginning, the Alpha and Omega of all things and situations. May His plans and purpose be fulfilled over the country called Nigeria, in Jesus name.

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