Nigeria and Golden Jubilee Celebration

4 Comments » October 27th, 2009 posted by // Categories: General Articles

‘Nigeria and the Golden Jubilee Celebration


Cornelius Olukunle Ewuoso

Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.


From next year January, Nigerians would begin preparations to mark the golden jubilee celebration of Nigeria’s independence. But just before we begin these preparations, which would commence in two months time, let us take some time out now to ask ourselves the basic questions which are, forty-nine years of independence, how have we fared? Forty-nine years of independence, what are the gains we’ve made? 49 years of independence, what are the achievements we’ve recorded?

            This is a critical moment in our lives as Nigerians hence, never has the need to ask ourselves these questions been more urgent than now, considering the present crisis the country is facing; Niger/Delta, electricity, corruption, economic crisis, joblessness, 419ers, insecurity of life and property, the Banking Industry, non-availability of good road networks, absence of clean water, electoral fraud etc thus, it is imperative we ask ourselves how the country has fared so far, the mistakes the country has made and the options open to the country to correct those mistakes. More importantly, to ask ourselves how committed we are, to the ideals of Nigerian nationalists-Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahamadu Bello. What was the Nigeria we received from them? What is ‘the Nigeria of today? What kind of Nigeria do we intend to pass on to the future? Moreover, considering who Nigerians are, by the time January eventually comes, Nigerians would be too busy preparing for the celebration than asking ourselves these important questions.

            When the news of independence first broke out in late 1959, and when Nigeria finally became independent in 1960, those of us who were alive then would recall how you rolled out drums, opened our boxes of wine, the drinking and merry making. Palmwine (emu), eba, egusi, ewedu, efo, amala, were supplied in abundance. The fire-works were spectacularly. The joy and gladness which filled our minds, when we heard that the Union Jack, the British flag, would be let down were indescribable. My father told me how he ran naked from one end of the village to another with his friends. He was a small boy then, and who could blame him for running around naked with ‘his thing’ exposed to everyone’s view. I mean ‘everyone’. He told me, ‘if at the time, there were a competition for the best bell, that ‘pride of man’, ‘his thing’, would have won it’. ‘It dangled up and down, and so melodiously like I had never seen before’, he said. He was elated at the news, and indeed, all Nigerians were ecstatic at news that Nigeria would finally become independent.

            ‘Finally’, we said confidently, ‘we would be freed from our racists’ oppressors’. ‘Finally, colonialism would pass into history’, ‘finally, oppression would become unpopular, and our rights would be respected’, ‘finally, our future is secured, our hopes are enlivened’, ‘finally, we approach our goals, our aspirations are guaranteed’, ‘finally, our visions would become a reality’, ‘finally, Nigeria would no longer be an object of ridicule’. ‘Finally, Nigeria would matter, and Nigerians would be listened to’. ‘Finally, Nigeria would witness growth, it would witness development’. Our possibilities would become endless.

             But that joy, that gladness which we felt was cut short when only six years after independence, the first attempted military coup D’etat, which brought General Aguiyi Ironsi into office, took place under Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. This marked the turning point in Nigeria’s history, the beginning of instability in Nigeria’s leadership. Since then, Nigeria and indeed Nigerians were made to suffer one misfortune or the other. Barely after the coup had taken, General Aguiyi Ironsi himself was assassinated in Ibadan and General Gowon took over the reigns of power.

            Hardly, had a year passed than Nigeria witnessed yet another breath taking event in its history, the ‘civil war’ of 1967 with Col. Ojukwu leading the rebellion. Nigerians became enemies to each other. There was blood shed, and more than one million Nigerians lost their lives. Families were disoriented, houses were destroyed, Nigerians became fugitives in their own country. Right in the middle of civil in 1975, when Nigerians were still learning to cope with the war, the country witnessed another coup, which brought into office General Mohammed, the best Military Head of State the country has ever seen. The military coups d’etat followed each other in quick succession, 1976 (Lt. Col Dimka), 1983 General Buhari, 1985, General Babaginda, and 1993 by General Abacha. The country was plunged into darkness, hopes were ruthlessly massacred. Since then Nigeria became a coin that is being thrown around from the firm grip of the tyrant men in uniform to the despotic politicians. Since then Nigeria became the ball that is passed around from one careless defender to a non-skillful mid-fielder, and from one skill-less mid-fielder to an absolutely clueless and nonchalant striker. The advent of democracy in 1999 did nothing to efface this ‘Nigerian cry’.

            Thus, in the 49years of Nigeria’s independence, out of which more than 25 years were spent under Military rule and about 18 years under civilian rule, this is how the country has fared; ‘the hopes of the people have been shamelessly betrayed, opportunities regrettably wasted, our visions hopelessly derailed and noble goals carelessly left un-attained’. Forty-nine years of our independence, this richly blessed nation still ranks amongst the world’s poorest nations. Forty-nine years on, hardships, problems and sufferings are still a common phenomenon in the country. Forty-nine years on, healthcare delivery system, education, security of life and properties etc., are yet to be improved upon. Forty-nine years on, electricity is still a concern. Forty-nine years on, oppression is yet to pass into history. Forty-nine years after, Nigerians are still slaves to oppression from their own fellow men. Forty-nine years after, we are nowhere near the goals of our founding fathers. This is the Nigeria of today, but certainly not the Nigeria we would like to pass on to the future generation.

A mere mention of ‘Nigeria’ today, evokes in the minds of many foreigners corruption, ethnic and religious crisis, instability, poverty, 419ers, drug pushers, smugglers, kidnappers, insurgence, insecurity etc. The noun, ‘Nigeria’ comes up in virtually everything that is bad. We have been stereotyped, and afflicted with many difficulties, but today, we must find consolation in the words of the scriptures that ‘we are not alone’. God is with us even in this hostile period of our lives. This is the blessed assurance we receive from reading St Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians 1:3-4. God is with us in our trying moments to support us. He is with us to guide us. He is with us to lead us. He is with us to console us so that we may console others. ‘Praised be God’, St Paul says in the same letter, ‘the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and the God of all consolation’. ‘Praised be God who comforts us in all our afflictions’. ‘Praised be God who does not forget his own children’. Can a mother forget her own child at her breast? Even if a careless mother would, God would not. He would never leave us. He would never abandon us. And so we are confident and we believe that in his day justice would be established. In his day, peace would reign. In his day, suffering would become history.

            But in order for this to happen, we need to work and we need to pray. ‘Faith without good deeds’, the scripture says, ‘is useless’. So, let us work to bring hostility to an end, and let us pray that God will touch the hearts of those who lead us in this country. And for ourselves too, let us pray that God will bless and keep us, let us pray that He would shine his face upon us and be gracious to us. Let us pray that he would look upon us with love and grant us his peace, through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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4 Responses to “Nigeria and Golden Jubilee Celebration”

  1. Etonye Andrew .o says:

    pls sir iread your article on Nigerian golden jubilee celbration,am impress by what you wrote,but sir iwant you to help me with this `Nigeria: a Nation at 50, the past, the future.pls ineed the details.pls sir send it to my mail thank you sir.

  2. I need an article on nigeria @ 50 past and future

  3. olatokun taiwo says:

    Mr Etonye ur article is extemely fab for we nigerians.keep it on.

  4. Adeyemo Oluwafemi says:

    Your Article is good. In fact! its a blunt truth. Could you please help me out with this article. Nigeria: “A Nation at 50. The Past, The Future”

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