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Nigeria at 60 – reawakening our patriotism

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By Chukwudi Nwobu

Nigeria’s independence anniversary celebration is an annual ritual that is commemorated on October 1. There is always a lot of elation and jubilation amongst the political Stalwarts, that is, those who the vicious pioneers and feint upholders of this crumbling geopolitical edifice are called Nigeria. The leaders of this ailing geographical contraption are quick to appraise their minute achievements in governance, thereby, regarding the prevailing woes in the country as consequences of the failures of preceding administrations.

On the other hand, a greater number of the citizens, especially the economically deprived and bellicose secessionists have lost hope in the country due to the myriads of problems bedeviling her. The country’s leadership has not taken sustainable expedient measures towards ameliorating the suffering of the unemployed youths. The country’s grassroot infrastructure is in shambles; with most communities still lacking numerous essential social amenities. Education in Nigeria, especially at the tertiary level, trails in perpetual despair. The country’s foreign debts continues to aggravate despite the fact that it is lavished on servicing recurrent expenditures like salaries and allowances, and refinancing overdue obligations which will not develop the economy. The unmitigated devaluation of the Naira, which is now ₦387 to $1, has resultantly worsened the perils of importers; thereby causing less importation and unprecedented inflation in the country. It is certainly perspicuous that Nigeria has not lived up to the dreams of our founding fathers; who envisioned a country of equal opportunities for all, devoid of ethnocentric favouritism and religious bigotry. The dreams of our founding fathers have turned evanescent due to the failures of our post- independence leaders.

But all hope is not lost. Although, there are a million and one reasons why Nigeria has failed and lost her pride of place in the comity of nations. I strongly advocate for a restrategised effort in fixing Nigeria. In reality it is Nigerians that will make Nigeria better. The continuous repatriation of Nigerians abroad and persistent xenophobic attacks on our brothers and sisters living in Ghana, SouthAfrica, China, and other countries have made more exigent the need to rebuild our country.

It is evident that private sector investments are the building blocks of sustainable economies all over the world. Affluent Nigerians should invest in large-scale agriculture, industrialisation and basic infrastructure. This will create more jobs for the teeming unemployed citizens. It is disheartening that the rich and affluent flaunt their SUV’s and luxurious cars on deteriorating roads. Moneybags keep on sharing cars as souvenirs without building or renovating the roads via community service, for the cars to ply on. This should change.

As electorates, the citizens should demonstrate their legitimate powers by voting for ingenious and incorruptible leaders. We must collectively reject vote buying, godfatherism, and electoral malpractices. Through our unflinching support to the electoral umpire, we can build upon the gains of our electoral reforms even as we clamour for improved electoral process.

The war against corruption would demand a collective effort. Each citizen should detest any appearance of corrupt practices even in offices, churches, communities and all spheres of life. If we all decide, we can change the status quo. It begins with me and you.

Ultimately, the role of citizens in nation building cannot be overemphasized.  This is a clarion call to Nigerians to reawaken their docile patriotic spirits to save Nigeria from her topsy-turvy nationhood.

                                                                                         Chukwudi Maurice Nwobu

                                                                                                                                Awka

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