NIGERIA AT 54: THE JOURNEY SO FAR
By: Chiso John
Today, Nigeria turns 54 and celebrations are rife all over the place but to be honest, there is little or nothing worthy of note to be celebrated. As a country, Nigeria is torn between thick lines of ethno-religious differences which has in most cases led to conflicts across the 36 states of the federation and some scholars rightly noted that Nigeria comprises three nations - Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa in a nation/country.
Since the birth of the country in 1960, Nigeria's greatest enemy has been corruption and tribalism as both continue to eat deep into the very fabric of the society.
However, in recent times, the Boko Haram insurgency (more active in the North Eastern part of the country) and the Ebola Virus Disease(EVD) also called the Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever has brought about more challenges to the government. On one hand, there has been frantic efforts in recent times by the Nigerian Army to contain the Boko Haram Sect which has yielded positive results in recent weeks, on the other hand, take nothing away from the Federal Government as Nigeria stood strong to contain the Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever and the words Surveillance, quarantine, Isolation etc has become commonplace usages on social networks, media houses and amongst Nigerians in general.
The Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever can be likened to corruption in Nigeria. They both are contagious and leave a devastating effect on the society. However, unlike the EVD, corruption has not been contained and neither has it been isolated as time after time more Nigerians dabble in it. Corruption is a threat to our own democracy and value system but nothing tangible is ongoing to contain it as most cases of corrupt practices by public officials and citizens has gone unreported and some other cases celebrated. Nigerians now see public office as a means to quick money or what I call " bogus political rush". Political manifestoes though mellifluous has been described by Professor Ofuebe as "hollow ritual". The term " dividends of democracy" has been completely rebranded due to the chaotic democratic system in practice in Nigeria.
In spite of all the aforementioned, Nigeria as a nation has thrived economically this has however been disputed as some observers argue that the economic development attained by Nigeria is only viable "on paper".
Though the shadows of our past as a nation haunts us, dwelling on the past would be a quite risky thing to do. Today is not a day to look back on our past mistakes, its one to look forward to the solutions to the problems that impedes this nation from greatness.
Happy Independence day.
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.