6th January, 2014
Nigeria is 100 years old as a country and 54 as an independent state but most of its achievements leave much to be desired.
On 1 January 1914, the British colonial authorities amalgamated what was then two separate protectorates of Southern and Northern Nigeria to give birth to one country called Nigeria. The single geographical entity was administered by Britain until independence on 1 October 1960.
But 100 years on as a country and 54 years as an independent state, Nigeria seems to have achieved little with its huge human and natural resources.
Nigerians are also growing impatient with so much hardship in the land of so much wealth. With vast deposits of natural resources, including black gold (oil) in our backyard, most Nigerians have remained stuck in squalor and hopelessness.
While our value system has continued to crash with vices such as corruption and theft celebrated, true federalism has remained an illusion and development at all levels has continued to elude us.
Infrastructure has continued to collapse and the one built over the years has not been well maintained because of theft and mismanagement. Poverty, hunger, illiteracy, unemployment and insecurity are all sky high and hopelessness is spreading fast by the day because Nigerians seem to have resigned to fate that there will not be reprieve anytime soon.
There is so much poverty and anger in the land that many Nigerians have simply moved out of the country for greener pastures and are not ready to return anytime soon as things continue to get worse by the day.
Our health system and education sectors are all in bad shape and many Nigerians now travel abroad for a proper education and medical treatment.
Other sectors have continued to crumble as well. It even seems no area in our lives is spared.
Hundred years after, we are not certainly where we are supposed to be and this is because of a wrong value system, corruption, mismanagement, insincerity by the political elite and impunity in the land.
In the midst of all these challenges, there is no need wasting billions of naira on a jamboree to mark the centenary of the amalgamation when most Nigerians are still going to bed with empty stomachs and in darkness because there is no constant electricity supply.
We cannot certainly afford to waste more money on a big celebration that will further impoverish millions of already poverty stricken Nigerians. We believe that celebrating Nigeria at 100 should be a moment to reflect and a time to make a firm resolution for a brighter future and a change.
We must change course and ensure we leave a better country to our children and grand children.