By Usman Zubairu Yakubu
On a day like this in 1960, Nigeria gained independence from Great Britain. But the question today is, is Nigeria an independent nation? I think the first and only Nigerian prime minister, Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, during the 1960 independence speech, answered this question. He said, “Political independence is totally inadequate if it’s not accompanied by security and economic stability”.
From the above-quoted speech, I think that Nigeria’s independence is inadequate. For this reason, we must all put hands on deck to ensure we build a prosperous Nation that will fill the missing inadequacies. A safe country for all. This is our responsibility, my responsibility and your responsibility.
The decreasing numbers of celebrants on this day show that things are not working well in the country and that the drivers of the nation are not doing the necessary to bring back hope into the hearts of Nigerians. Many Nigerians have lost hope in the country; this may arise from the ugly condition of almost everything. They feel hopeless not because they don’t love the country but because the leaders made them feel that way. We may tag that as unfortunate, but the truth is always bitter, and that doesn’t make them less Nigerians because they have their reasons to feel so. The optimistic ones who believe that Nigeria will one day get better are only trying to be stronger. Count me among them; I hope the leaders will not kill our little hope for the country and its future.
Many things have happened in less than a year of Tinibus Administration. First, the subsidy removal imposed a lot of hardships on Nigerians. Second, Economic destruction left millions of Nigerians in abject poverty and the bedevilling issues of insecurities affecting the country, especially the Northern region of the country. And by mere looks, things are only getting worse, not better. The current abduction of the Federal University Gusau students is an alarming sign of left dust that needs to be cleaned. This is to talk less of the economic hardship Nigerians are going through.
In a situation like this, independent celebration shouldn’t be the focus of any sensible Nigerian. On every blessed day in the country, Bandits kidnapped people, some killed, and some thrown out of their homes. Many Of the victims were left homeless. Go to the streets of Katsina, Zamfara and Borno to have a glance. Is this what we are celebrating? I believe independence under insecurity, corruption and poverty shouldn’t be celebrated. Until these issues are addressed, we will celebrate Nigeria’s independence with true love and patriotism. But at the moment, we don’t have the energy to celebrate.
In a country where over 40% are living in abject poverty. And 63% are dimensionally poor as of 2022. This is before subsidy removal; how many per cent will now be in poverty as the economy shakes? Tell me, should we celebrate poverty? Or should we celebrate insecurity at the moment? Unfortunately, the future of Nigeria is gloomy as its youth remains jobless. Should we celebrate unemployment? In a country where justice is abolished, is that one country to celebrate? In a country where tertiary education is on the verge of becoming a privilege and not a right, please tell me, should we celebrate that country? In a country where the leaders don’t care about the educational future of its citizens, is that one country to celebrate? In a country where a man can’t afford healthcare, food, and life necessities, is that a country to celebrate now? Nigeria’s problem is far beyond what one can imagine. At this moment, celebration is not for us but rather a critical way of thinking about building a prosperous nation because it’s possible.
But despite all the challenges, I believe Nigeria shall prosper, and we will live in a country devoid of insecurity, corruption and abject poverty. We will live in a peaceful nation of economic prosperity educational rights, and a country that will stand on its feet as the Giant of Africa. May God bless Nigeria!
Usman Zubairu Yakubu writes from Toro, Bauchi state, Nigeria and can be reached via email@example.com.