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Nigeria 59th Independence Anniversary: Any cause for celebration?

7th Oct, 2019 | By David Dago | ||

On Tuesday 1st October, 2019 Nigeria will be 59 years old as an independent nation. We congratulate and salute President Muhammadu Buhari and all Nigerians on this auspicious occasion. We also salute our founding fathers and other nationalists who fought for our independence from British colonial rule in 1960.

We will not forget the heroic sacrifices of those who fought and lost their lives to keep Nigeria united. We salute Nigerians for keeping faith with our country through demonstration of their resilience, determination and patriotism. I recently had conversation with some young Nigerians and it was a bag clear of mixed feelings about Nigeria. Some felt there is no reason to celebrate Nigeria.

They cited economic hardship, the current security challenges and the fact that the idea of them being 'leaders of tomorrow' is no longer realistic because the political space continues to be dominated by old generation politicians. Others however listed achievements of the Buhari administration particularly in the fight against Boko Haram, the fight against corruption and for bringing to life the "Not Too Young to Run Act" as good reasons to celebrate. These arguments have shown the beauty of democracy as people are able to express their opinions unhindered.

Do have really have reasons to celebrate? The answer is an emphatic YES. A comparison between Nigeria and Somalia will give some insights. Both countries got independence in 1960, Nigeria from the Britain and Somalia from Italy. Nigeria fought a civil war from 1967 to 1970 and overcame. Somalia has been fighting war since 1991 till date. While Nigeria is stable, united and democratic, Somalia has been described as a failed state.

Surprisingly, while Nigeria is the most heterogeneous country in Africa with diversities in religion, ethnicity, culture and language, Somalia is the most homogenous country in Africa. Speaking on the failure of the Somali State, one author by name A.A Ismail said "what is more puzzling is how this could happen in a country like Somalia, the most homogenous country in Africa both ethnically, religiously, culturally and linguistically" This clearly shows that homogeneity is not a guarantee for peace and unity.

We therefore celebrate the fact that our diversity is our greatest strength rather than liability. Nigeria has had 20 years of unbroken democracy since 1999, unprecedented in our political history. Within this period, we have successfully conducted 6 general elections and peacefully transited from one administration to another. This calls for celebration especially against the backdrop of our previous experience with military incursions into political governance in Nigeria. We recall that the military ruled from 1966 to 1979 and then from 1983 to 1999. These periods were characterised by so much instability due to the various military coups that were staged in 1966, 1975, 1976, 1983, 1985, 1990 and 1993.

The road to nation building has been rough and tortuous. It is clear that we have not been able to fully actualise the aspirations of our founding fathers at independence for a strong, united, egalitarian and prosperous nation. Nigeria is confronted by a myriad of problems, some of which have threatened its corporate existence. Ethnicity, religious bigotry, nepotism, abuse of political power, corruption, bad governance, hate speech and moral decadence are some of the problems that have stultified our growth and development. However, it is must be pointed out that advanced democracies of the world such as the United States of America have passed through these stages before achieving greatness. With time, patience, and the right attitude of both leaders and followers, Nigeria will attain greatness.

We must therefore allow hardwork, commitment, patriotism, peace and love for one another to define our character as a people. While it is true that material resources are necessary for national development, it is the quality and attitude of the human capital more than anything else that determine the pace and direction of development. Thus, the difference between success and failure, and between progress and retrogression is character and not material resources. We strongly believe that a better Nigeria is in the horizon. While keeping this hope alive, it is important to remind ourselves that the responsibility of actualizing the greatness of Nigeria is a collective one for all of us.

The present administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to laying the foundation for the re-birth of a greater Nigeria. Corruption has been the bane of our development. The level of our development is not in any way commensurate with our huge resource endowment. We must therefore commit ourselves to supporting the administration to battle the maladies of our society. Let us make Nigeria work again by saying no to corruption, terrorism, senseless killings, kidnapping, vandalism, religious intolerance, indiscipline, political thuggery, violence and all other forms of criminality.

As we celebrate our freedom and reflect on the way forward for our country, our prayer for Nigeria is aptly capture in stanza 2 of our National Anthem: "O God of creation, direct our noble cause, guide of leaders right, help our youths the truth to know, in love and honesty to grow, and living just and true, great lofty height attain, to build a nation where peace and justice reign". God Bless Nigeria.

News Update

The Minister said these after a meeting of the FCT Security Committee which comprises heads of the police, military and para-military formations in FCT as well as Area Council Chairmen and religious leaders.

The cheery news is coming as Minister of State, FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu will headline a distinguished galaxy of stakeholders for the FCT pension stakeholders retreat this week.

Finally last week, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) took over managing and operating the newly- completed Nigeria-Korea Model School in Abuja.

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his Administration will continue to fashion policies designed to ensure employment and security of all citizens, especially the youth.

Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has decried the lynching of three suspected traffic robbers popularly known as 'One chance' in Dutsen Alhaji area of Abuja last week.

Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) always makes public the allocations in line with President Muhammadu Buhari's Change Agenda which harps on transparency, anti-corruption and accountability, tenets which FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has made his beacon.


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