Mixed Feelings Over Nigeria At 50


As our country marks 50 years of nationhood with fanfare tomorrow, Nigerians have mixed  feelings over what to make of the jamboree. While some believe that any form of  celebration is misguided and amounts to celebrating failure because of the nation’s  wasted opportunities since independence, others argue that Nigeria has moved forward in  the last 50 years and the progress must be acknowledged and celebrated.

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, for instance, believes that those clamouring for  celebration are mostly the youths who lack sound memory. According to him, those  celebrating “were born into an entity, into a muddled example of what a developing  society should be.”

To him, the only thing he can see are wasted opportunities and dashed hopes; a nation  grappling with failure of leadership, where nothing is working.

However, Mr. Mahmud Jega, Editor of Daily Trust Newspaper, says those who argue that  Nigeria has nothing to celebrate for its 50 years of independence must go back to the  1970s and see how far we have come.

He said there are more road networks across the country and that a journey that took  about four days in the 60s and 70s now takes less than a day, even though the roads are  not in top shape. He also said there are improvements in telephone service delivery and  other aspects of life that call for celebration.

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Renowned scholar, Kole Omotoso believes there is hope for Nigeria to reinvent itself in  spite of the wastage of the nation’s resources by successive administrations since  independence.

According to him, “I have become more and more optimistic, perhaps because living outside  the country, I have seen what other societies are trying to do and what we’ve done. It’s  unbelievable the kind of things we achieved here, which so many other countries have only  just begun to even think of.”

We acknowledge that Nigeria has made some level of progress in the last 50 years. One of  which is that we have remained united despite a myriad of problems. Some countries that  went through a civil war broke up, but by sheer divine intervention, Nigeria has remained  one country. That in itself is an achievement. So, there is reason to rejoice.

But, we also believe that when compared with other countries that were at the same level  of development decades ago, our country is lagging far behind. We could have done better  with our vast human and natural resources.

Billions of dollars that were stolen over the last 50 years are enough to have taken our  country to a new height of development, peace and stability. Our failure can be  attributed to a poor, corrupt, insincere and insensitive leadership. While we acknowledge  that we have come a long way, we call on Nigerians to ensure that they vote out bad  leaders in the next election, for it is only with good leadership that our country can  move forward in the next fifty years. A country so blessed like Nigeria should not be  where it is today.

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