By Emeka Chiakwelu
Here we are again, another independence anniversary and this time around Nigeria is 52 years. What is Nigeria has to show for this middle age of 52? Two third of Nigerians are living in abject poverty, surviving with less than one dollar a day. This implies that many of our fellow country men and women especially children go to bed on hungry stomachs. In most cases, the food are not adequate and are lacking in nutritious value needed for maintenance of a healthy life style.
Nigeria is a nation rich in natural resources and wealth but corruption is the bane of the society. Revenues from oil export can be best utilized for wealth creation by providing infrastructures not for readily consumption. Then stability and modern infrastructures will attract capitals and investments for further wealth creation.
Nigeria has failed to provide electricity and drinking water, the simplest things of existence to her citizens that many people in different parts of the world have taken for granted. The streets and corners of Nigeria are overflowing with refuse and debris. The ramification of environmental deterioration, degradation and negations come with a big price – a rapid decline in the health being of the nation. Malaria, water borne diseases and air borne diseases are having their ways in Nigeria.
The environmental devastation in Nigeria is overwhelming. There is desert encroachment in the North, massive flooding in the West and gully erosions in the East. Nigeria is gradually but steadily eating away by environmental challenges.
The state of health infrastructure is burdensome, HIV/AIDS are killing Nigerians in millions and many of the citizens have not grasp the danger of this devastating disease due to lack of effective communication and educational awareness.
Nigeria’s educational system used to be the envy of the world, but at the moment many first degree holders in Nigeria are unemployable because they are poorly trained. Many of the advance degree holders are unemployed and to add salt to injury, many of the graduates are turning to petty jobs including truck driving, cooks and house servants for survival.
Criminality and insecurity are engulfing the young nation. The youths are turning to life of crime and criminal enterprise due to lack of jobs and break down of morality. The level of corruption in Nigeria can be successfully compared to that of the defunct Roman Empire. Nigeria has been described as the center and home of internet scammers and e-mail criminals. There are tribal, sectarian and regional disorders and violent eruptions, things are falling apart and the center is giving up too. Life is becoming cheap and massive deaths are recorded in hands of terrorists and criminals.
What’s up Nigeria?
There is so much a nation can take before it breaks down and falls apart. But this is not time for Nigerian stakeholders to bury their face in the sand and act indifferently and nonchalantly to these existential problems. In the words of Chinua Achebe, it is “morning yet on creation day” and Nigeria can still recover and fulfill her destiny.
Nigeria must go to the root of the problems which are principally the lack of the strongholds of nation building nation – determination and patriotism.
Let start with Determination. A nation building is a conscious decision and iron-will determination made by men and women of goodwill and strong will to build a new nation. Nigeria must not be exception to the rule, for she must be determined to give it her best to build a nation worthy of passing down to the posterity. There is no miracle and there is no quick path to nation building. The path to a great nation is paved with determination, strong will and hard work. Nigerians must not delude themselves that nation building and stable nation can come easy without comittement and industry.
Nigeria must ask herself these questions and must be willing to answer them adequately:
What is Nigeria?
How is Nigeria?
Where is Nigeria?
When is Nigeria?
Who is Nigeria?
Why is Nigeria?
These questions are the basis for nation building and failing to meet their requirements can spells an immeasurable and incalculatable doom for a nation in making.
Patriotism is the most powerful tool against corruption and when citizens are without them, no progress can be made in building a new nation. This is not the time to give lip service to patriotism while at same time sabotaging the cause of building a nation. When resources and funds marked for public projects are mismanaged, siphoned and stolen, then strongholds of nation building have been betrayed and compromised.
The greatest commitment to a country is patriotism, Nigeria need patriots whose love for the country transcend their own self interest of primitive accumulation of wealth and power at the expense of their fellow country men and women.
This article is dedicated to the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first president of Nigeria, the only detribalized national leader ever produced in Nigeria.
Mr. Emeka Chiakwelu is the principal Policy Strategist at Afripol. Africa Political & Economic Strategic Center (AFRIPOL) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.