Nigeria I hail thee! Another October 1st, another celebration of our status as a sovereign nation! Our achievement of independence is something worth celebrating – the sweat, tears and blood of many of countrymen were shed for this. But then there are many questions to be asked. What have we achieved after independence? What have we made (or not made) of ourselves? What great milestones can we boast of as a nation? Why do we have corrupt government officials wantonly playing political games, and thus fiddling with the future of the nation?
We have a government that is riddled with despicable corruption. The honest individuals who go into the system as agents of change either pick up the corrupt ways of their counterparts or lose their lives because of their honesty and integrity. We, as a people are constantly petulant and complaining about our corrupt government but we fail to see that corruption has moved into the masses. What do you say about the petrol stations that water down fuel so they can sell less and still make the same amount of money? What do you say to the man at the market who fills the bottom of the tomato basket with rotten and unripe tomatoes but assures you otherwise? What do you say to the policeman who has no legal reason to stop you but demands that you bribe him lest he arrests you?
Undoubtedly, corruption is a canker worm that is eating deep into the fabric of our nation but we can decide that it will not be the end of our story. We all can go on and on about what’s wrong with our nation, after all corruption is just one on a list of many. Or we can stop talking and start doing. We can run to countries where things seem better, like the U.S, and become permanent residents or we can learn from them and return home to implement change. We, you and me both, have to be the change that we want to see. We can choose to be principled individuals even in tough circumstances, or take to the corrupt ways of those who claim to lead us.
That being said, there is so much that we have to be thankful for as a nation. Using the words of Chimamanda Adichie, we are a people that survive despite our government, rather than because of our government. The entrepreneurial potential of Nigerians is simply amazing and the will to not merely survive, but thrive is truly inspiring. Ultimately, I’m mostly thankful that we are a praying people; we know to pray when we don’t know what else to do. Today, I declare peace and prosperity over Nigeria. HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!
Love from Smithia.