The Independence Day Celebration, a day when Nigerians are meant to celebrate freedom from the shackles of British Colonialism; a day when the air in the country should be filled with green, white, green, merriment and jubilation, has instead become a day of mourning for Nigerians.
A country which gained her Independence some 63 years ago and which has been blessed by God with ample natural, economic and human resources, still has a majority of her population living in abject squalor with no remedy in sight. Many of the citizenry regard the Independence Day with apathy, scorn and derision, marked by the common question of, “What is there to celebrate?”
The attitude of Nigerians to the anniversary has not been helped by the corruption that has eaten deep into the fabrics of our national life, a development that has greatly stunted development and thus reduced the country to a 63-year old child that has refused to walk.
The only group of people who, perhaps, have grounds to celebrate, are the ones who have been pillorying the commonwealth of the people; the politicians and highly placed public officials.
The last general elections have also not helped in the advancement of democracy in the country. But those elections are not isolated cases as the nation’s History is replete with electoral heists.
This has seen the country’s affairs being run by the wrong people who are not accountable to the masses because they were never elected. The result is that mass discontent against the government and even the country itself has always been the case.
It thus, comes as no surprise that many Nigerians take no pride in their country and utilize any little opportunity to literally escape from the country they see as oppressive.
There is really nothing to cheer in Nigeria owing to a combination of such factors as corruption and bad leadership. Worse still, the youthful elements are disappointed that the same old faces are being recycled in the power corridors, giving the youth of the nation no chance to grow. Those who manage to get a sniff of the power corridors do so, largely because of their family connections, rather than competence, and so the rot continues.
Sixty-three years after Independence, Nigeria is still battling to provide basic amenities to her citizens and this is when the so-called smaller countries have gone far in such. It, indeed, remains a sad commentary, for instance, that after 63 long years, Nigeria can’t generate enough electricity, thus forcing businesses to spend fortunes in alternative power sources, which, in turn, has shot up the prices of products.
The four refineries in the country have been left to rot, while people in government are aiding individuals to set up refineries with large shares.
The unemployment rate in the country is among the highest in the world and the best brains are yearly being forced to go outside the shores of the country for better life. As a result of the unemployment rate, criminality has become high as the perpetrators feel they have no option.
Add these to the ethnic and religious tensions in the country which have sharply divided Nigerians and engendered mutual distrust among the various ethnic nationalities and between the two major religions.
To say therefore that Nigeria is a failed state is to state the obvious. This is why many Nigerians see the celebration of the Anniversary of Independence as one big scam.
We therefore, join millions of other Nigerians to mourn in this period, rather than rejoice as it is clear that nothing good can come from this Nazareth called Nigeria unless, of course, a miracle happens.
Certainly, today’s Nigeria, cannot be what her founding fathers envisaged.