Nigeria @ 60; The Journey So Far

Congratulations to Nigeria, A nation that encompasses multi-ethnic groups and diverse in culture with same clarion call.

Nigeria, eminently the most populous black nation on earth, endowed with heterogeneous ethnic groups and natural resources.

History has accounted for so many totalitarian situations Nigeria has raced through from pre-colonial to the post-colonial era.

Nigeria was subjected to slavery from the late 15th to early 19th century and our people were stripped off their humanity to work in occidental nations of the world to develop their socio-economic coast.

In the later part of the 18th century, the colonial exploiters embarked on the second mission of exploitation and subjugation called the legitimate trade and colonialism.

This indirect rule and suzerainty of domination in collaboration with our potentates led to a protracted administration of indirect rule that later ended with the total expulsion of colonial masters in 1960.

This paved way to the right to self-determination after agitations and polemics from educated Nigerian elites home and abroad. The Europeans were left with no options other than to concede to agitations for our independence from the British Government.

The pre-independence Nigeria witnessed the Aba women riot of 1929, the breakdown of the Macpherson constitution of 1951, the Kano riot of 1953, among others. In post-independence, Nigeria became a republic in 1963 and worse events occurred like the census crisis of 1963/64, the western election crisis of 1964 and the worst of all, the military coups of January 16 and July 29, 1966, which culminated in the worst of all our tragedies till date, the Nigeria-Biafra civil war that lasted 30 months (1967-1970).

These unwholesome atmospheres were ruptured with Blood and Iron.

These unholy circumstances and incessant destruction of military and democratic government also metamorphosed into the second republic, 1979-1983. This socio-political decadence also replicated itself in the 3rd republic popularly known as June 12, 1993, where the election that was popularly adjudged to be peaceful, fair and credible, was later circumvented by military radicals and bourgeois political elites.

This perennial disruption and perversion of the people’s will has created apprehension, agitations, and remonstrations against the Nigerian state by her citizens.

Furthermore, all these outrageous encounters have thrown Nigeria into a pariah state.

These occasioned a situation where Patriotic Nigerians, Academias, professionals, pressure groups, rights groups, civil society groups, socio-cultural groups, NGOs, prominent individuals, NADECO, UAD and too numerous to mention resorted to agitation for a new and better Nigeria.

The result, however, gave birth to this 4th Republic which began in 1998. Not many nations will survive such a calamitous and unfortunate incident. But we are still kept together as one country under God. We may have fumbled and wobbled in our journey of nationhood and governance but that we have not crumbled is obviously a sign of hope according to the popular maxim: “when there is life, there is hope.” Nigeria still has life therefore we should not cast off our hope in spite of the structural and developmental challenges that have been confronting us as a country since independence.

According to the second president of the United States of America, John Adams who was a political philosopher and great erudite, “Nations and people are forged through the fires of adversities.” Nigeria no doubt has been going through her own fires of adversities.

We only pray and hope we come out of them now or sooner than later.

There is no gainsaying that we have more adversities than we ever imagined or bargained for.

We should as well look at some of our recent successes as a country and let them ignite the fast-fading hope that has for long pervaded the minds of our people who may have given up or about giving up on the country.

A biblical injunction says “if we faint in the day of adversity, our strength is small”. We must not faint as youths; we must not faint as a people but rather let us strengthen one another in these trying times as there is so much to achieve together if we do not forget to be our brothers’ keepers in order to attain Uhuru society. Now, how well is the Nigerian democratic state? Are we getting it right? Yes, But however the greatest challenge confronting us over the years since independence has been nothing else but mal-governance.

And this stems from the denial of our people the freedom to truly choose our leaders who will represent us and serve our collective interest.

When this right is guaranteed and safeguarded, the bulk of our challenges would have been half solved and our leaders would work for us.

Congratulations to Nigeria@ 60!!!

Michael Uyiosa

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