….but now we have acquired our rightful status, and I feel sure that history will show that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace: it has been thorough, and Nigeria now stands well- built upon firm foundations.”
~Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Independence Day speech (1960). Retrieved from BlackPast, B. (2009)
Whilst i feel the urge to say “happy independence day Nigeria”, i cannot but express my downheartedness for my beloved country drowning in the depths of despair.
Indeed, it is the longing of every nation to glee on occasions such as this. Sadly, on this day, beneath the obligatory celebrations of government institutions and pseudo euphoria of the ruling elite; lies the rhapsodies of sorrow of the average Nigerian.
“A nation well built upon firm foundations”. Is this how we reward the efforts of our founding fathers? Shall the labour of our heroes past be in vain?
The depravity of our leaders, fueled by the mindlessness of our youths. The persistent threats to our existence as a United nation. The heinous activities of bandits and insurgents, the yowls of secessionists. Flagrant violation of the provisions of the constitution, by those who swore to preserve, protect and defend the same. Acute bigotry from those who pledged to do right to all manner of Nigerians, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will. The insouciance from those who promised to devote themselves to the well-being of Nigerians.
It is the 59th anniversary of our independence, and as of today the average period that a Nigerian is expected to live is 54 years.
Despite over 500 billion dollars in oil proceeds, roughly 50% of Nigerians still live in extreme poverty.
While 43% of Nigerians lack access to portable water, Nigerian senators are arguably the highest paid lawmakers in the world, taking home around 15 million naira ($41,000) monthly.
With 13.5 million Nigerian children out of school; despite UNESCO’s 26% benchmark, the federal government barely allocates 7% of its annual budget to education.
While daring youths up North have picked up arms to make ends meet; down south, many youths seek succor in cyber crime.
In almost every facet of the Nigerian society, there is a corroboration of the miscarriage of governance.
So i ask, Nigeria at 59; to jubilate or to ruminate?