NIGERIA @ 59: TIME TO REASSERT OUR RELEVANCE AND LEADERSHIP
On behalf of Nigerian workers, pensioners, citizens and our families, I wish to congratulate the government and the people of Nigeria on the occasion of the 59th Independence Anniversary of Nigeria.
This year’s celebration is quite epochal given that we had our general election in March 2019. It was an election where we elected political leaders at the Federal and State levels. It was not a perfect election but at the end of the day, Nigerians despite their political differences were able to put Nigeria above personal and partisan aspirations.
The occasion of the 59th Independence Anniversary of Nigeria, like the ones before it, offer Nigeria an opportunity for serious soul searching and very candid reflection. In our journey to nationhood, we have had a number of highs and lows. While we should celebrate the highs, we must also ponder on the lows and pick useful lessons from them.
It is important to celebrate the de-construction of colonial rule and what independence offered the Nigerian nation and people – a priceless opportunity to pursue our dreams and re-write the history of colonial evil by the strides of our post-colonial existence. We started off on this trajectory on the solid foundation laid by our founding fathers who were in a great hurry to hurl us at par with development elsewhere.
Our founding fathers invested heavily to build the social capital of our country through their commitment to quality and universal public education and construction of excellent medical facilities. The result was top notch human capital development as Nigeria a few years after independence became the doyen of intellectualism on the continent producing world class scholars, professionals and workers in different sectors of the economy. Many of our universities and hospitals were ranked among the best on the continent and in the world – attracting scholars and sick people from all over Africa and even beyond.
Our founding fathers showed sincere commitment to industrialization because they believed in the dignity of labour and wanted every Nigerian to be gainfully employed. Industrialization was not the dessert but the main menu of governance. Our founding fathers proved this by creating the enabling environment for industrialization by providing quality roads, mass electrification and security of lives and property.
Despite the best efforts of successive political leadership, we cannot say that we are where we ought to be. Our dreams for a great country are yet to be achieved. There are certainly a lot of room for self re-discovery in the midst of the current grave challenges in human capital development, infrastructure, security and public order. Now is the time for the Nigerian renaissance. This is a call on both the leadership and followership. At stake is our pride as the largest population of black people on earth. We have a duty to make that count for something!
Now is the time to make our public schools and hospitals the centres of excellence. Now is the time to climb out of the tunnel of darkness and provide the electricity needed to power the potentials of our people. Now is the time to clean our political space and ensure that every vote counts. Now is the time to drown the noise of strife and violence with conversations for peaceful co-existence. Now is the time to build the critical infrastructure that will become the backbone of our collective quest for relevance globally and leadership on the African continent.
No nation survives or thrives by chance or wishful thinking. The 59th Independence Anniversary offers us a moment to reflect, re-prioritise, re-strategise, re-position, and re-launch the Nigerian dream. As leaders and citizens, we owe ourselves, and generations unborn the responsibility of bequeathing a nation of justice, equity and prosperity.
As the world braces for a new world of work, challenges of climate change and stiff contestations for global order, we must create a new global relevance for Nigeria and consolidate our leadership on the continent. Nothing less would appease the labours of our heroes past.
Happy Independence Anniversary!
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni