By High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye
It’s yet another Independence Day celebration. A day that brings back the memory the of our collective fights for freedom from the Great Britain for the attainment of self-rule.
Fast forward, it’s been sixty years of self-rule, self-governance and of self-dependence, amidst abundant human and natural resources, but has these translated into meaningful lifestyle for the citizenry?
As we ponder on our individual answers to the above poser, as a business owner and community leader, I want to assure every Nigerian that regardless of the circumstances confronting us as a nation, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
We shall all attain our full potentials, if our leaders are prepared to be selfless, responsible, accountable and be alive to the yearnings of Nigerians.
That God almighty created us and endowed us with black skin, intellects and abundant natural resources and located us in a space that was later known as Nigeria, on the continent of Africa is not accidental, God has a purpose for every individual Nigerian.
But let us ask ourselves, why is pre-independent Nigeria more prosperous than post-independent era in the history of our dear country?
In pre-independent era, Nigeria had detribalised nationalists that were truly committed to the Nigerian project.
The likes of Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikwe, Pa Anthony Enahoro, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Tafawa Balewa and a host of others passionately fought for the country’s independence and led the country selflessly to an enviable position among other countries of the world.
During this era, Nigeria was full of milk and honey. All efforts were adequately rewarded. Indeed, life was rosy for all Nigerians.
The currency of the time was highly valued. There were no tribal sentiment; no rivalry between ethnic groups and citizens live as one indivisible entity.
There were political and economic stability and Nigeria, the giant of Africa was absolutely self-dependent to feed her citizens.
The youths were gainfully employed and the aged lived a life full of comfort and fulfilment. Both the country and her citizens were prosperous.
But this was soon replaced with nepotism, maladministration, bad leadership, self-gratification, corruption and religious and ethnic crises amidst political repression and economic retrogression.
The big question is, can Nigeria ever meet up with the changing world order? Again, I leave you to ponder on this.
In 1999, when Nigeria attained democratic rule after many years of oppressive military rule, hopes of citizens were heightened.
There were hope of better living conditions, employment generation for the teeming youths, housing for all and qualitative health care for all classes of Nigerians.
But this hope were dashed as a result of misgovernance and misappropriation of public funds.
It’s been 21 years of uninterrupted democracy and millions of Nigerians are either unemployed or underemployed.
An average Nigerian languish in poverty with no access to good housing, quality healthcare and good transportation system in spite of successful change of government every four years.
While countries are treading the path of technological advancement, Nigeria is still battling with challenges of deplorable road network and poor transportation system, poor health care system, epileptic electricity supply which has impoverished trades of citizens and crippled national economy, youth unemployment and political instability.
As we celebrate 60 years of political independence, I urge Nigerian leaders to match their words with deeds. Nigerians must be empowered economically to achieve their collective destinies.
To achieve this, stable electricity is very important. Homes and businesses especially skilled workers run on power generator to keep their business afloat.
They require constant electricity to live a comfortable lifestyle and keep themselves in business.
But this is not the case with Nigeria at 60!
Nigerians deserve a better bargain. Our leaders must address developmental challenges and rot in almost every sector of the Nigerian economy.
With the first index case of COVID-19 recorded in Lagos state in February 24, 2020, the world and indeed, Nigeria’s economy was brought down to its kneel turning.
Moving forward, Nigerians need an improved healthcare system to would carter for all health needs of all Nigerians regardless of social status.
To all Nigerians, I say this is no time to celebrate. Our country needs our prayers at this critical moment of her national life. Our leaders need encouragement and not condemnation.
And with this done, our collective hopes and aspirations will be achieved.
Happy Independence Nigerians!