As our dear nation reaches 60 years of Independence as a nation, Nigerians really cannot point to any good reason for us as a people to cheer since the day British Sovereignty was symbolically pulled down as the Union Jack and the Nigerian Flag was hoisted up to declare to the world that a nation prepared to help protect and defend the dignity of the black man had emerged on the world stage.
One can only imagine the hopes that streamed with the transfer of power from the British Empire to the people living across the confluence of two rivers. No people were much prouder than the Nigerian people that day, though the euphoria was not to last that long.
Events that followed were to lend their credence to reasons why the euphoria was quick to die down. The ruling class no sooner than later turned out to be worse than their British counterparts; corrruption became the order of the day even though it wasn’t as rife as it is now as our leadership also engaged in the divide and rule games; the 1962 and 1963 Census crisis, the Western Region Crisis, the 1964 election crisis and the stalemate that followed it, the Tiv riots as well as the Western Region election crisis of 1965 all culminated into the military coup of January 15, 1966 and July 29,1966 as well as the Civil War.
As a nation, we seem to have failed massively in building upon the benchmarks left for us by our colonial masters, where we ought to have by now built the nation into a global power with competing advancements in a number of sectors, nay we have rather dawdled on the opportunities presented to us as a nation, failing the teeming population.
Like Chinua Achebe did once write, the trouble with Nigeria is indeed its leadership which has failed to give the people the much needed direction to the promised land. Our indices today as one of the most corrupt nations on earth and as the poverty capital of the world is an indication that our leadership so far as a nation has totally failed its people.
This is not to say that the nation has not made its mark on some occasions. It’s contributions to the liberation of the African continent stands indelible in the annals of world history. Her interventions in a number of African nations also helped preserve democracy in nations like Liberia and Sierra Leone as well as help restore hope to a number of other nations.
It has also made immense achievements through sheer individualism in a number of fields such as literature, medicine, the academia, diplomacy and sports.
Nevertheless, at 60 our nation is still groping in the dark, requiring some form of transformational leadership to get her and its people from the conundrums it has found itself in.
Now seems to be that time.