Over five decades ago, Nigeria had begun her final rites of passage from an adolescent colony of the British to a sovereign adult nation. Seemed like a whole lot of responsibility, but not such the excited leaders at that time couldn’t handle. Well, at least they thought so. 57 years down the line, it appears Nigeria has only grown in age and not in stature. Terrorism, economic recession, rapid unemployment/underemployment, election violence, corruption, disregard for human rights and tribal/ethnic disunity, continues to plague the nation. Nonetheless, Nigerians do have a reason to celebrate: the priceless privilege of independence!
Just like the previous years of itemizing the nation’s progress and achievements every 1st of October, the rating for this year’s Independence Day anniversary hasn’t particularly added any new figures. Nigeria enjoys independence while in dependence. Despite the country’s wealth—and a whopping fifty-seven years after independence, Nigeria is continually in dependence of external loans to keep it’s frail economy alive.
Nigeria is in dependence of foreign assistance to help wrestle Boko Haram down to the ground. Nigeria is still in dependence of the constant reminder by its citizens through risky agitation and protests that the country is still a democracy and not governed by reformed military decrees. Nigeria is in complete dependence of the petroleum sector for survival at the detriment of other promising sectors. Most unfortunately, Nigeria is in dependence of the strength of the elderly to speedily provide the desired change for the future.
It takes great courage to agitate for independence, but requires a great deal of responsibility to be truly independent. If Nigeria is still learning on the job after 57 years as a sovereign nation, then it defeats the purpose of it’s independence.
Bio: Nimi Princewill is a Nigerian-born writer and social reformer.