NIGERIA: THE INFANT AT 60

-Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –By Austen AKHAGBEME:

With a concocted feeling of joyful rhetoric in the midst of a collective discontent, the old drums are rolled out, once again, in celebration of Nigeria’s independence anniversary.

It has become our favourite ethos, to unconsciously speak glowingly about our Nation in times like this, despite the overwhelming temptation of giving the issues, the rough edge of our tongue.

There are those who argue that it is not always as bad with Nigeria as some others would want us to believe. This may be relatively true. But a Nation still grappling with the fundamentals of nationhood, amidst ethnic discontent, mutual suspicion, economic misdirection, social insecurity, political aloofness and ravaging kleptopredation, one has no option than to call a spade it’s true name.

It is painfully nauseating and terribly disheartening to know that the self acclaimed and widely proclaimed giant of Africa is still an infant, learning hard to stand on his feet. It is equally discomforting to see sister commonwealth nations in Africa and Asia, making tremendous progress, who were, one time or the other on the same teething pedestal and developmental page with us, while we remain where we are.

It is true that our shared dilemma is multifaceted. But nations problems are solvable, especially when national goals are personalized, understood and owned by her citizens.

Thus, building a nation becomes an impossible task when her citizens feels alienated from the commonwealth and regards themselves as ethnically and qualitatively inferior to their fellow ethnic groups in the union, no thanks to the political manipulation and emasculation of the majority by the opportunistic few.

Politically speaking, Nigeria stands on two cardinal points; the North and the South. This is the myopic prism from which all issues are viewed, accepted or rejected. Isn’t that just like the way we came together in the first place? The amalgamation of two culturally different and structurally skewed protectorates to create the terribly unbalanced territorial expression we have today, that is.

At 60, we’ve truly come a long way. A long way from being an epitome of development, peace , prosperity and ideological stability. No thanks to the colonial deception and the ensuing neocolonial treachery by the economic compradors.

Nigeria has become an old jungle, full of predators and victims. A state where being brawny is held in high esteem than being brainy.

We must begin to think of a way out. A way out of the suffocating dragnet of strange bed fellows we find ourselves. We must protect posterity from being carnibalized by these present locusts whose only god is their belly.

There must be a value reorientation to deliver to the future, leaders that are hardly given to cronyism, tribalism and prebendalism. We must find a way to rejig our union and narrow the fault lines.

We must take advantage of the vast natural resources and the enormous human resources at our disposal. It should be noted that Nigeria as a physical and geographical entity is not poor. It is only Nigerians that are poor. The inability to find a nexus between these two parallel facts, is our bane. Happy Anniversary.

  • Austen AKHAGBEME is a Columnist with :Blank NEWS Online
News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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