Growing up my Grandmother would always tell me stories about our Nigerian independence, even when I was not interested she would always discuss it with my parents most times my mum. I could remember her telling my mum of how Nigeria got her name in 1914 but was still under slavery and dependent on Britain for survival. She would always tell my mum of how patriots like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Eyo ita, among others, irrespective of their tribe, religion, or culture came together to stand for the independence of this country (Nigeria). “Having a name does not mean being independent’’ she would emphasize and that was why 46 years after the centenary (the naming of Nigeria) these patriots had to still stand for our independence. Not letting the 46 years of centenary blind them into thinking they got independence. And that was one of the reasons she was particular about purpose. She said we have a place to call our home today, a place to call a country, and independence to celebrate because of the selfless and iconic act of these people. But there were sad moments in her story whenever she remembers the Nigerian civil war, tears would roll down her eyes. When she remembers the losses that happened including her husband, of how he went to the market to get some things for the house but was killed in a blast, and when it was reported on the news for people to come to identify and pick up their loved ones, so at least they could be properly buried, but all she saw when she got there was a piece of his arm which she recognized because of his bracelet. She ended up just burying his arm alone. This period was a very sad and traumatic moment not only to mama but to everyone who witnessed it and to Nigeria as a whole. Because the death and destruction that came didn’t choose who to kill. These among many reasons like; Military coups that kept occurring is why she would liken Nigeria to a jungle. What kind of country does the military kill to rule? She would ask? Not until democracy was introduced by Olusegun Obasanjo. But this was all yesterday, as I am all grown up now and understand things for myself to a certain level. Nigeria is 60 already moving to 61and the big question we should ask ourselves is are we progressing or are we are just moving. Do we even have a promised land to head to or we are just moving in circles? I remember in my nursery school days we were taught that we were the leaders of tomorrow but all those lessons are turning out to be fantasies as the tomorrow in Nigeria never comes. Leaders of my nursery school days are still ruling and with no apology. Not that it’s a crime or so, but the average Nigerian politician has idolized it making it look like a do-or-die affair. Is this the Nigeria of our dreams? Where is the love? The Love we saw in past years seemingly grew stronger on every independence day, where we saw all kinds of people irrespective of their religion and tribe coming together to celebrate, dance, and grace our screens with their beautiful attires. Days when we could easily wave the green white green flag on every street with no fear of insecurity. Rome wasn’t built in a day as it popularly said so we were taught that all the love we saw at that time took a while to build. But now all of a sudden everything just vanished like it never even happened. There is no even a safe place to stay and dream as a Nigerian child. Killings and kidnapping have now become a norm in our country. A situation where the kidnappers blame the Government for no jobs created and the Government blames it back on the people for not doing their part. What part exactly? I think the earlier we realize that we have only one Country and Origin the better for us, let’s not be too quick to forget the civil war and the consequences and impact it came with. Because Nigeria is gradually tilting towards a Deja’vu and history would repeat itself if care is not taken. Because for a country at 60 moving to 61 we haven’t gone so far with our GDP dropping every year and our economy reducing as well. As said by Chinua Achebe “the trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land, climate water or air, or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal examples which are the hallmarks of true leadership” most of these problems are from our leadership, but how long do we continue pointing fingers? The presidency on the other hand is playing its part as they supposed to, but the problem of Nigeria today is not just for a person or party to fix but for everybody. We have to come together to achieve a common goal if we want a better Nigeria. For our decisions of today would determine the outcome of Nigeria Tomorrow. Let’s dream big for Nigeria, for I dream of a country where we can walk freely without the fear of being kidnapped, a country where religion or tribe is not criteria for getting a job, a Country that would have just and fair leaders that would call a Spade a Spade, a crime irrespective of who committed it, a Country where Education is free and easy to access. if all these can be achieved we will have a better Nigeria.This is our only country and we can’t afford to lose it. Just as said by Barack Obama “to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done”. So let’s rise, let's rise above tribalism, let's rise above nepotism and corruption, let's rise above the hatred we have for one another because of Political Party, religion, or Gender, and stand as one to build our Nation for a better tomorrow
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