NIGERIA AT 55: ARISE, O COMPATRIOTS!

Sunday
Osanyintuyi | @Sundayos
Just few days ago, my six years old daughter was, as
usual, asking me for the explanation of Nigeria’s flag colours. This daughter
is very inquisitive. She always wants to know almost everything as much as
possible. Of course, to have my rest, I explained. She asked further why few
things seem not same with some other nations of the world visited overtime. You
wonder her level of intelligence? Most kids these days are too smart beyond their
ages. Well, what excuse will I offer her for this now?

But just immediately after the exercise, it dawn on
me our Nation would be 55 years old today. 
Such is a milestone in a nation’s lifetime. More importantly in a nation
that values human and capital development. From our political landscape to
economical standoff, it appears we have not truly got independent. We leverage
or do we say depend on foreign nations for one aid or the other. Our internal
crisis is taken to foreign nations for resolutions. Even to constitute Federal
ministers, we needed to visit some guns in Europe.  Is this an evil in Africa or just a Nigeria
problem? From one government to the other, we never miss to run quickly to
America for simple issues requiring our internal efforts. Nigeria prides as the
giant of Africa but crippled by corruption and poor leadership. Sadly, those
promises from America never come and our challenges become perennial.


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Ordinarily, a 55 years old adult should not only take
responsibility for his or her life entirely, but also be independent in
thoughts, decisions and manage his crisis. But same is not the story for
Nigeria as a nation. Sad though, we are still down if not below where the
colonial masters left us almost six decades ago. The ills that bedeviled us a
people seem not be concern to our set of leaders as corruption, terrorism and
poor management of human capital characterize our dealings.  One can but wonder if these leaders have their
eyes open to how nations like Malaysia, Dubai, China propel national thinking
and lasting developments.    
My focus in this piece is to challenge our
leadership to thinking proactively with generational mindset. Our founding
fathers failed to instill national passion into our curriculum in schools.  In the last four decades of my existence, the
issue of power supply in Nigeria has become rhetoric. The problem is known but
solution swept under carpet. There is no national vision for development in
Nigeria. No clear cut path for national prosperity for all.  No nation develops based on wishful thinking
and lips statements, but deep commitment to enduring values, integrity and
generational impacts.
In 55 years, Nigeria leaders have mastered deceptive
ways to carry the populace along in major national poverty while a few get
richer per seconds.  Clearly, the vision
of the founding fathers was not the current status quo. Take few minutes to
read a stanza of Nigeria national anthem:
Oh God of creation
Direct our noble cause
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace and
justice shall reign
Without
mincing words, this stanza only applies to Nigeria founding fathers as these
set of non charlatans at the corridor of power are not nationalists in their
approach. At no time has ethnicity, tribalism and nepotism dominated our
national discourse at this. The common or national interest holds no value
anymore. It is time for this giant of Africa to arise. As we mark the
independence today, we must accept our leaders failed us while we also have
messed up as followers. The quality of leaders, in most cases, is a product of
the followers. Leaders emerge from society based on set of rules formed by the
followers. 
As we celebrate today, we must be deliberate
about crafting clear national values and standards for our existence going
forward. Our laws should be made to work. Governments at all levels must strengthen
the institutions of state beyond personal gains.  It is not about political party but the lack
of political will to cause positive changes in our national lives.  Change is never automatic but driven by
people.
Our
leaders, ranging from religious to political, must be seen doing right things
while preaching right things. The mess some of our religious leaders have
plunged us to must stop henceforth. We are very religious people but at the
same time very wicked, inconsiderate and tempered. Most nations we run to enjoy
lives run their national lives based on these simple values not how religious
you are or not. No religious leader, who lives below expected values, has right
over any politician who embezzles common wealth.
As
we move towards the six decade anniversary as a nation, the prosperity of
Nigeria is dependent on the common wealth if its citizens not oil. The oil boom
has turned to curse instead of blessing. 
Government should deliberately look away from oil and tap into our
natural resources. Agriculture holds the future for Nigeria; hence policies
should be made to encourage investors in this industry.  
To
the citizens, our civic responsibility is not negotiable. We envy United States
of America today but forgot such country is run on taxes. Government does not
joke with taxes in America. The idea of evading taxes should be jettison if we
hope or dream for a developed Nigeria.  Our laws should be strengthening to punish
offenders while people who live above board are celebrated.  
When
these among others are done, we can happily sing the national anthem stanza:
Arise, O Compatriots,
Nigeria’s call obey
To serve our fatherland
With Love and strength and faith
The labour of our heros past
Shall never be in vain
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom
Peace and unity.
Happy
Independence, Nigeria!!!         

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