When the Union Jack (British flag) was lowered at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos on the 1st of October 1960, it was welcomed by Nigerians. The world welcomed the new country. Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief- Goodbye to colonialism. It was dreams come true. The Green-White flag instilled confidence, nurtured aspirations and brought hope to the hopeless. Nigeria served as a perfect example for other African countries. Fifty-two years down the line, has Nigeria maintained her lead as the “Giant of Africa”?
The nascent independence underwent a litmus test- Nigeria Civil War (1967-1970) the 1967 civil war which lasted for 30 months exposed the crack in the wall. Nigeria overcame it. That is why we are still together. It only took the 3Rs policy to resuscitate the ailing nation. The military era was based on a dictatorial approach to governance. Then came democracy. Democracy was based on legitimacy. After 13 years of uninterrupted democratic rule stability has been achieved. That is a milestone.
As the President of the federation read his speech, I wept for my country. You might ask why I did that. The nation is unable to boast of regular power supply, portable drinking water, durable roads devoid of death traps. We claim to be Giants of Africa yet our economy is crumbling leaving us at the mercy of the #5000 note policy. This is ridiculous! The World Bank rated co-ordinating Minister of the economy tells us we are broke yet our leaders spend without batting an eyelid. They live as kings forgetting that power resides in the citizen. The followers see nothing good with policies made, rain curses on their leaders and bemoan their woes.
At 52, we are yet to hit the ground running. Issues which shouldn’t be are incorporated into the Nigeria parlance. I begin to wonder if Nigeria was truly ripe to be independent in 1960
As sleeping Giants, we are yet to rise up to the task set for us to achieve.
Taking a look at the 52 years of independence and her achievements, Nigeria still has a long way to go. We are still wearing diapers at 52.