Nigeria marked her 56 years of independence only few days ago. Making it to another year in any endeavor, whether human or otherwise is worthy of celebration. And remarkably so, such celebrations are laced with fun fare and attendant milestones in the mould of achievements, can this be said of giant Africa which marks each year’s anniversary regrettably with lamentation and hopelessness. So many countries mark every year of independence with much of achievements to show, this probably is not the case with Nigeria at 56, that is laced with signs and straits of a country not moving on a straight and smooth path if not wobbling on undulating plains
Synonym with unaccomplishment of 56 years nationhood, the dreams of the founding fathers of Nigeria no doubt may be far from being realized half a century after she became a sovereign nation. This fact is undisputed if indeed dreams and self fulfillment can come true and become actuality. Since 1960 when the country got her independence from British colonial rule, not much can be recorded as gains from the leaders and the country, except few steps forward and many wobbling feet backwards. The country has been plagued by rhetoric, deceit and policy summersaults from leaders. Save for the first republic, parliamentary government politicians and key players, it cannot be said that the country recorded so much achievements in terms of development, economic, political and social. In all spheres it was wastage, an unfulfilled dream of a growing entity and nation. But to be fair to the first set of politicians, technocrats and bureaucrats, especially those of the Ziks, Awos and the Sardauna’s ilk, who knows, perchance their selflessness and pan Nigerian disposition may have been the missing lines and the point where the country actually lost its radar and plunged into a directionless wilderness which today has become an albatross. Coupled therefore with long reign of darkness, despotism and military interregnum, it is to say the least that over thirty years of military rule in the country’s chequered 56 years of servitude, the autocrats accorded the country no good and this is not trite talk but a common place jargon that says that the worst civilian government is far better than all the military regimes put together . Even though this assertion is arguable, the country is still faced with the same challenges. Democratic rules, particularly between 1979 till 1983 and from 1999 till date, has not put the country in the right stead, Nigeria is still wobbling and shuffling. And regrettably so after over five decades of existence, neither the military nor the much cherished democracy government, that is the government of the people and by the civil populace which Nigerians again embraced from 1999 till now is not what the people bargained. With brazen poverty and citizen’s living on less than a dollar per-day; degenerated, dehumanized, displaced: from better to worse and frying pan to fire, the most black populous nation in the world has in the last 16 uninterrupted years of democracy sojourn in most despicable manner; As can be argued Nigerian is nothing but an entity full of Ups and downs, galloping and wobbling like sheep devoid of shepherds, swimming in poverty. Coming as a nation indistinguishable from corruption, ethnic and religious bigotry: That prides in kidnapping, Terrorism, Boko haram and lately the genocide by herdsmen suspected to be of Fulani extraction that kill and maim farmers on their farmland and ancestral homes, without a doubt Nigeria can be permitted to be called ludicrous, this is not an understatement or hype but just the way she is, awry. Though needles to take one administration after the other since 1960 and analyze its failures which far outweighs it achievements, what hope stares at us at 56 years incidentally in a new administration of hope and change led by President Buhari, is surely what we demand and not economic recession as it were . Certainly questions on how the country plunged into recession is a matter for another day but what matters is what went wrong , what is wrong with the country nay our leaders such that everybody appears to have lost a sense of direction. We must interrogate this puzzle to find out where the mistakes were made, what is often wrong with the leadership and maybe the followership. Is it self- centeredness, tribalism, secular jingoism and sheer politics, that if it is not APC, it is not APC and vice versa. Whereas this harmful characteristic inhibits national cohesion and accomplishment, time as it were has come to fashioning out a nationalistic approach and solutions to the country’s problems cum development, be it economic, social and political. Yet it is convenient to say that America with a 200- year of democracy and historic development is a cynosure of eyes and a world class model worthy of emulation, truly speaking Nigeria does not need to be 200 years old both in democracy and as a nation or creation to become a civilized world like America, if we do simple things like attitudinal change, be patriotic, shun corruption, nepotism, ethnic, religious bigotry. Nigeria can develop with her ideals, aspirations, whims and caprices of her founding fathers, if the current and future leaderships negate religious, ethnic chauvinism, politics of non inclusiveness, shun corruption, reduce cost of governance, lead by practical examples, actions and not rhetoric, accept all Nigerians as one and serve the people as one entity, regardless of North, South, East, West dichotomy as it is presently noticed in previous and this current administration. If we are truly one in the way this administration was voted, then the Buhari administration may be the messiah. And he can only salvage the country from the present economic, political and social recession, infrastructural deficit by being patriotic, incorruptible, firm, fair and equitable in the discharge of his duty. Buhari must be non tribal, non partisan. He must not be a despot. The administration must be all inclusive and all- embracing. These perhaps have been the country’s bane and inhibition why is it still why she wobbles and gallops like a gazelle. Things can still turn around for it is not too late, although there is liberal time to begin again and pick the crumbs; the country can pick up once more and start in good health with this change administration if it is focused in all sense of purpose and patriotic. If Singapore, Indian, Malaysia , Brazil , all once third world countries could launch all over again, who says Nigeria cannot begin again assuredly with sustainable health care delivery, good roads and rails, affordable housing, power , industrial growth, sustainable agriculture, where youths, unemployed graduates, idling local government workers take to aggressive farming in all the 774 local areas in the country. Who says at 56 Nigeria cannot grow her own food and feed her teeming populace without importing rice, palm oil, groundnut oil, chocolate, bar soap, detergent. What can stop the country at 56 not to manufacture her cars, trucks with her abundance manpower, steel, and seeming natural endowments etc? Must Nigeria continue to wobble? The answer is no.