I just got off a radio programme where the issue for discussion was Nigeria at 50. This came in the wake of a rather horrific celebration in Abuja where the key marker was the double car bomb that as at now has claimed about 8 or more lives. The nation was rocked, Abuja was rocked and many people were shaken to their very core.
What all this points to is a nation fractured, divided and broken. Yet signs of resilience from the people were visible. It has become and indenture in our mindset that something bad would always happen to us. From bad leadership to bad followership, we have a litany of wrongs forcing themselves upon our psyches and this is a fact of life here in Nigeria we must strive to overcome.
The planning of the anniversary was shrouded in secrecy and followed by a ubiquitous budget amidst dire hunger and lack in the country. Even with public outcry that things were not in place and there was so much pain to warrant such an extravagant celebration; they went along, ignoring public opinion like all other past governments have ignored us for 50 years. Their insensitivity became even more glaring when a whooping 74 million naira was used to bake a national birthday cake. What a mess indeed!
Allowing for the fact that somehow government might be ring in some decisions, what if one may ask is the rationale behind such expenses. If on the average the said money were to be shared out to the 150 million Nigerians or so, each would go home with approximately 20,000 Naira on the conservative side, and for a nation where over 60% lives below the poverty line it is indeed ridiculous.
What am I or some other people suppose to be happy about at 50 years of independence? I am not free in my country… I am faced with the visible challange of negotiating my own security, provide my own electricity and educate my kids and wards in a nation I work and pay taxes. There is a danger for each and every one of us lurking in every corner you turn in this country. We have been structured to fail and failure and fear is visibly imprinted in our national DNA. How do we manage this?
We ought to start from a recognition that we need to continue as one; the other thing is to recognize that we run an expensive system given our poverty as a nation. What potentials we have can only be harnessed and utilized when we seat to figure how best to revive this comatose battered nation of ours. Nigeria can be great, but it only CAN if we do push hard enough from all corners of its massive landscape. Its injuries are fatal but can be healed, yet in this we must lose a lot of constants that we have acquired as national characters.
The bombastic often over flowery language of self adulation must be dropped for a rather tacit, even epicurean language and lifestyle. The government has lost its credibility and can only continue functioning in and within a climate of fear. They would try to create that and we must try and stop them. The little is the forerunner of the great; we must restart small and trudge on to the great. The potentially strong human resources base must be groomed, mentored and provided an opportunity to break even.
Listening to a dozen or so speeches and commentaries on Nigeria at 50, one comes out with a deeper sense of urgency. The time bomb is about 5 minutes from detonating and what detonates it isn’t our ethnic differences and religious conflicts, but the implosion of the youths, who frustrated and beaten, simply turns this place into a macabre theatre of woe. This though isn’t going to start as we expect it to, but it would take different plots and subplots and twists too. Providing employment is only a remedial course. Infrastructural renaissance is the key to sustain that employment and give them a boost to create value and wealth.
The pain is real. The anger is real. The frustration is real. The agony is real. The threat is real. What is unreal and saddening is the deafness’ of power and their insensitivity. Nigeria to become, should start from our seating down to renegotiate Nigeria.


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