That Nigeria marks 55 today, is a thing of joy; unspeakable joy. If for nothing else, the country has come of age just as adulthood beckons.
As is traditional worldwide, not a few well-wishers in governments, corporate world and at individual levels are felicitating with Africa’s giant in all spheres of endeavours but developmental. This truism is borne out of the fact that no matter how wayward a child is, it is hard for his mother to publicly disown him.
Thus, Nigeria in the eyes of the world may have continued to swim in the stagnant waters of near-success syndrome given all its potentials; the country may have by happenstance conquered many battles to keep the unity of the nation intact; we as a people, may have continued to excel in our individual exploits locally and in foreign lands; put together, the nation still has a very long way to climb up the ladder of success.
Over the decades, it has become common knowledge that lack of needed political will by the several governments that have administered our affairs alongside crass unpatriotic disposition manifestly displayed by our leaders in politics and business and their strange self-serving nature have combined to keep Nigeria and its supposed giant leaps to gloryland in one spot, the little progress so far made notwithstanding.
Besides, a critical look at our democratic structures today as we mark 55 years of our nationhood, shows weaknesses that ordinarily should not be there, not at this age; not at any other age.
A country where almost every policy and decision at the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government are politicised for certain personal, group or regional gains cannot definitely grow its democracy. Instructively, respect for the separation of powers among these branches, and of consequence, the rule of law is neither here nor there. At the end of the day, the citizenry suffers the attendant fallouts.
The insecurity issues in the country alongside rising unemployment figures signpost the foregoing. And so are the issues of unpaid salaries of government workers, gross corrupt practices in almost every sector of the economy with a rather slow anti-graft justice system. The Fitch rating of Nigeria’s economy and the frightful future it portends for us all further underscore the sad state of our nationhood and its future.
But must these continue? Our answer is negative. We hold that the time has come for Nigeria to grow rare breed of patriotic citizens who would think, eat, drink, breathe, sleep and wake up proud Nigerians willing to, at every moment explore ways and means to increase the rating of the country in any good way in the eyes of the public.
Our institutions must be strong. We must evolve a process by which the rule of law will reign supreme in our legislatures. When our democratic structures are stronger, we can
deliver dividends of democracy to the people better. That is when we will begin to have a nation we can all be proud of. This is what we think governments at all levels should spend their time on.
We believe that as at today, Nigerians do not have much to celebrate, but if there must
be celebration, it must be modest. Indeed, it is time for us all to reflect on our journey
so far; where we started, where we are now and where we are headed. But above all, it still does not stop us from congratulating fellow Nigerians for another Independence Day.