Following the independence celebrations, here is an article that reflects on our brief history and if the present position is worth the celebration.
Lagos was captured by British forces in 1851 and formally annexed in 1861. Nigeria became a British protectorate in 1901. Colonisation lasted until 1960, when an independent movement succeeded in gaining Nigeria its independence. The federation of Nigeria was granted independence October 1, 1960.
Nigeria commenced its first republic October 1, 1963 with Nnamdi Azikiwe as president and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as prime minister from 1963 to 1966. On January 15, 1966, a bloody coup was staged in which Tafawa Balewa was assassinated. Major-general Aguiyi Ironsi took over as military head of state. The Biafran war broke out running for three years 1966-1970. After the cessation of the war, military rule continued for nine successive years before another election was held in 1979 paving way for Nigeria’s second republic (1979-1983). Nigerians second republic emerged as military Head of State General Obasanjo stepped down and handed over power to Shehu Shagari following the completion of a successful election. Shehu shagari headed the second republic till it was overthrown by general Muhammad Buhari. The Buhari led government was peacefully overthrown by general Ibrahim Babaginda in August 1985. Elections for the emergence of the third republic took place on June 12, 1993 which was concluded to be the most free and fair election conducted in this country till date. The results of the elections left a rich Yoruba business man as the winner MKO Abiola. The results were annulled by IBB and he later resigned on 23, august 1993 leaving Ernest Shonekan as head of an interim government but this was peacefully overthrown by General Sani Abacha on 17 November, 1993. Following accuses of treason, MKO Abiola was held in prison till 1998 when he died. Following the death of General Sani Abacha, his successor General Abdulsalami Abubakar returned democracy to Nigeria in 1999. In the widely monitored 1999 election, Olusegun Obasanjo emerged president on 29 may 1999. In the controversial election of 21 April 2007, Umar Yar’adua emerged president. Following his death, Goodluck Jonathan later won the election the following year. Muhammadu buhari then won the general elections on 28 March, 2015 after PDP’s rule of sixteen years. We are in the fourth republic because we are using the fourth constitution of Nigeria. Hence, President Muhammadu Buhari is the fourth elected president of the fourth republic.
After seeing this brief history, is Nigeria at 56 worth celebrating? Nigeria has the sixth largest gas reserve and the eighth largest crude oil reserve in the world. It is endowed in commercial quantities with about 37 solid mineral types and has a population of over 170 million people. Yet economic performance has been rather weak and does not reflect these endowments. The major factors accounting for poor performance include political instability, prolonged years of military rule, political apathy, corruption, just to mention a few.
The education of a country which is supposed to be the support on which a country stands on seems to be continually deteriorating in Nigeria. Judging by the continuous increase of leaks during examinations and the poor quality of teaching, it’s a shame that graduates of today cant construct a simple sentence. Its a shame that at 56 years old, big Nigerian politicians feel it is a thing of pride to say they sent their kids abroad for quality education leaving ours to continually fall. No one looks in the direction of Nigerian universities anymore rather they seek revenue to send their children abroad. At 56, employers look for candidates that studied abroad and give our own products little or no attention. At 56, our graduates are unemployable. Very bad. Very sad.
Nigeria runs a mixed economy and economy is the back bone of any country. The growth of the economy of the country is hindered by mismanagement. It is ranked as the 21st largest economy in the world in terms of nominal GDP and the 20th largest in terms of Purchasing Power Parity. It is currently under-performing with exportation greater than importation. It is fully dependent on crude oil which is very unstable. Although it has generated a lot of revenue for developmental projects, we cannot ignore that the quantity keeps depleting. At 56, Nigeria still depends on one major source of income. The issue of diversification has been a topic for a while but nothing significant has been done on that. The economy of Nigeria has become so bad that at 56, we import most of our food crops instead of exporting. Over 20% of its population live in poverty and about 6.4% of its population are unemployed. At 56, the naira is very unstable because of the poor state of our economy. At 56, recession is hitting us worse than it ever has. At 56, the economy of the so called giant of Africa is in a terrible state and Nigerians can do nothing but pray and hope for a brighter future.
Having analysed the major supports of a country, Nigeria at 56, we will say isn’t worth celebrating at all. Those that experienced the first independence say that they are disappointed as they thought independence will set them free but it feels like they have remained captured for 56 years. Nigeria at 56 cannot fully sponsor athletes to the Olympics as witnessed in the last Olympics held at Rio. Some of our athletes sponsored themselves. Nigeria at 56 still has very bad transportation networks all around the country. It could be summarised and brought down to the clearest answer that Nigeria at 56 is not worth celebrating at all.
Nonetheless, like they say, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I still strongly believe that with good governance and political participation, Nigeria can still rise and live to the name GIANT OF AFRICA. The million dollar question, is Nigeria at 56 worth celebrating? My answer is a yes and no.
Please do feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you think. We would appreciate the contribution.
AFOMA AND ODDIE!!!!!!