Nigeria, the giant of Africa, a combination of multiethnic groups with different cultures, traditions and languages; a country that is so blessed with mineral resources, gained her Independence on October 1st in the year 1960 and today, we are celebrating her fifty-ninth year anniversary.
Today, we come together to celebrate that special day when the colonial masters handed powers over to Nigerians.
We are going to the field to celebrate it today. While some people are going there to watch, some are going there to participate in one activity or the other. Different ethnic groups will be there to showcase their different cultural heritage and while there is a smile on everyone’s face, there is a thought on my mind.
The colonial masters took over the governorship of Nigeria because they thought we were stupid and they knew that we were illiterates and had no knowledge of our rights. They came to exploit us, but also brought education which made the people wise.
Our past leaders fought and spoke against their rule because they knew that we were being exploited and they wanted Africa to be ruled by Africans. They thought we can rule ourselves and wanted to develop the country themselves, to make it a better place for the people. They swore to have to do away with the colonial masters’ method of exploitation and vowed to make Nigeria a better and more developed than the neighboring countries.
On 1st October 1960, their request was granted and the country gained her Independence. It was a happy day for Nigerians who saw it as a freedom from bondage.
Shortly after our Independence, more schools were created and free education were created in an attempt to make sure everyone was educated.
Those who wanted to go become teachers were sponsored to colleges of education where their school fees, books, accommodation and fees were free, and students were paid salaries by the end of the month. In those, days jobs were made available for students after graduation but can we really say that about today?
It has gotten to an extent that graduates with first class certificates pay money before they can get a job. Now are we growing?
The civil law which was created to provide job employment for the citizens and should reflect the federal character is now ruled by nepotism and corruption. Employment is no longer based on merit but on mediocrity.
The youths blame the leaders for poor misappropriation of funds and corruption, which is true. They believe that they the youths are in a better position to rule the country.
The leaders blame the youths for their laziness to start up their business venture instead of waiting for white collar jobs, which is also true.
The economy is downgrading due to the decrease in the market value of oil, the country’s main income and the misuse and embezzlement of public funds by the so-called leaders.
Graduates are on the streets because there are no jobs. This is where you find a barrister by profession working in a haircut salon. It is now the survival of the fittest and since history are written by the survivors, everybody wants to be one.
The country is becoming unsafe for its citizens as a result of criminal activities which are caused mainly by safe employment. Some students drop out of school because they believe that school is a scam, but can you blame them?
Nowadays, education is no longer free and if you calculate your school fees from the kindergarten to the tertiary level, you will discover that it will yield a huge profit if it invested in something else.
There is a saying that children are the leaders of tomorrow, the future leaders of our country, but what is the chance of them leading when the government is held by greedy, corrupt and selfish old people who will do anything to make sure they remain in power. They are just like the whale that swallowed the farmer, both the hook and the fish aborting the dreams of a good catch.
What is the future of this country when the future leaders are thieves, fraudsters, rapists, streetwalkers, etc, which they can not be entirely blamed for.
Nigeria inspires to be like foreign countries like the USA, but when are we going to get there? when are we going are we going to be able to beat our chest saying, “Yes, we have come of age”? when are we going to start competing with the big powers in areas of development and civilisation even technology?
Our leaders never wanted to be like the colonial masters, but in a way, they have also exploited us. Prices of things are increasing everyday and there are no increase in the workers’ salary.
In a village, you can see ten schools with thousands of students, but what is the guarantee that they would find jobs after graduation when the streets are filled with graduates hustling for themselves instead of being in their places of work according to their certificates and area of specialisation?
Why not close down some of these schools or universities and build firms in their stead like China did.
Has anything come of age?
Until the civil service is cleared of mediocrity, and transparency is allowed; until government is placed in the hands of honest and responsible people through free and fair elections; until corrupt politicians are made to face the law by the judicial body of government; until employment is provided for the citizens; until Nigerians have decided to promote Nigerians and their works; until the streets are flushed clean of criminal activities and criminals are given a chance of repentance and better life; until lawmakers start making laws in the interest of the people; until the independence of the judiciary is guaranteed, then and only then can we say we have come of age. But until then,”NOTHING HAS COME OF AGE.”
And just like there is always light at the end of the tunnel, there is also hope for Nigeria. There is hope that Nigeria can be better. There is still hope among the youths, and I believe that a day is coming when we can say, “WE HAVE COME OF AGE.”
Happy anniversary Nigeria.