Nigeria Independence Day

Sixty-two years ago, a blessed country named Nigeria gained independence from her colonial master, Britain. Hopes were high, hearts filled with joy and excitement.

“Alas, things are going to become better for us,” some of her citizens thought in the heat of the excitement. Others thought the country would be way better than it was under colonial rule.
Nigeria is one of the most populous African nations and its growth potential was very high. Over the years, Nigeria has grown to become a great nation; the African giant but, not without challenges. 
This great nation has survived through insecurity, inflation, corrupted leadership, economic crisis, and all the tussles thrown at her. One of the virtues that are ever present in this nation is ‘Hope’.

And that has seen the Nation and her citizens through challenges. There are several questions in the hearts of people as the country marks another independence, some of them are; “Has Nigeria reached her full potential? Was this the state of the country our past heroes have in mind when they were fighting for this nation? 

“History is not the past but a map of the past, drawn from a particular point of view, to be useful to the modern traveler”- Henry Glassie.
I can agree less with the words of Henry Glassies; History is a map of the past and it is to be used by modern travelers. When history is used properly, it would be a useful aid for the modern day. The history of Nigeria's independence is a spectacular one, little wonder the citizens believe against all odds that things would become better. There is a brief history of Nigeria from independence till date; 

Nigeria was granted full independence from Great Britain on 1 October 1960. She received her  Freedom Charter from Princess Alexandra of Kent, who represented the Queen at the Nigerian independence ceremonies. 
However, independence did not come without a fight, heroes like Sir. Herbert Macaulay, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Anthony Enahoro, and others were the founders and fathers of Nigerian Nationalism. They were at the forefront of the struggle.

Sir Tafawa Balawa took the rein of power as the Prime Minister, a position he has held since 1957. Nnamdi Azikiwe was the ceremonial president of the senate. The prospects were promising and the expectations from the citizens and the world around them were high. 

The citizens expected that they would be taken to the promised land and outsiders expected they would do better than the colony. The country became a republic in 1963. The stability and peace the country enjoyed were interrupted 7 years later as civil war broke out. The war lasted two and a half years and claimed millions of lives.

Nigeria was divided into three geopolitical regions then, the Northern region, the Western region, and the Eastern region. The civilian government was overthrown by a military coup in 1966 which led to the beginning of military government in the nation’s history. The military rule continued till 1979 when power was handed over to a civilian government and embraced democracy. 

So far, Nigeria has been through 16 leadership. Each leadership comes with its challenges and successes. The country is going through a learning process and is striving to nurture democracy and institutions for full development.

The 62 years milestone presents a major landmark and opportunity to review the development of the country and its people. 
What are the high points in the nation? What Bills have been signed into law, and what impact has been on the nation? One cannot point out development in Nigeria especially when there's no scale for measuring development. But you can tell Nigeria has undergone development in the last few decades like infrastructural developments, and bills have been signed into law. Nigeria might not be in the best place now, but she is better than she was in the beginning.

Challenges are inevitable in life and Nigeria is not exempted from this. Nigeria has a fair share of challenges. Some of these challenges include; security, over the past 3 years, there has been an alarming rate of kidnapping and banditry which the government is working very hard to deal with. 

Also, inflation is a major challenge in Nigeria, hence the standard of living is very high and becoming difficult for the masses. The education system of Nigeria is going through a lot of challenges.

These are a few of the challenges Nigeria is facing right now, 62 years after independence and her citizens are optimistic that despite the challenges, change is on the way. Maybe, they believe the words of the National Anthem. 

“Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria's call obey
To serve our fatherland
With love and strength and faith
The labor of our heroes past 
Shall never be in vain
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom, peace, and unity.”

Despite all odds, Nigerians still believe the labors of their hero's past shall not be in vain. That the labor of those who fought for their independence and peace of the nation shall not be in vain, hence they are resilient and will keep the hope alive till change comes.

Just like the popular saying, “it takes a village to train a child”. This saying can also be applied to nation-building. It takes a country to build a  country. 
The nation, Nigeria can become its best if everyone plays his role effectively. We all have a role to play in the stage of the country. It is time we stopped blaming the government for every problem we encounter and start taking responsibility.

Like the popular slogan, “Change begins with you”. The change you want to see in Nigeria begins when the citizen does the right thing. If you do the right thing and the next person does the same, there will be a change. And you know what they say about Rome? It is not built in a day. The effect might not be seen immediately but with time, it would.

As we celebrate Nigeria's independence, let's add “Change starts with me” to our “ E go better” slogan.

Happy Independence Nigeria!

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