Good wishes to Nigeria at 59 – Frank Ofili17 views
Fellow countrymen and women. Let me begin by wishing us all a happy Independence Day celebration. Our leadership challenges notwithstanding, we have everything to celebrate as a nation.
I am optimistic that we shall overcome. I believe God Himself positioned our country for greatness. All we need do now is to close ranks and support our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, regardless of our political differences.
We have lived for too long on borrowed wealth. We squandered even the borrowed wealth; we thought we had a birth right to the good things of life. We didn’t think of the vicissitudes of life, which often bring a change of fortune; we refused to plan, we refused to prepare for the rainy day. Now the rainy day is here, and the rain is beating us. The folly of the false life we lived is now staring us on the face. Now is morning after the party, and we are in dire straits. Reality!
At 59 we are still like a toddler, unable to walk, unable to stand bold. But in every seemingly insurmountable difficulty is often the solution. The challenge is to identify it. We must not despair. Now is time to work, to do all those things we should have done all these years but which we did not do. Now is time for new thinking. More importantly, now is the time to begin to think beyond oil.
But first we must unite the country, rebuild confidence in ourselves; re-establish faith in our abilities, put an urgent end to insecurity, curb corruption, cynicism and self-doubt and allow our laws to work. We must invest massively in our youth, in education. We have no other country other than Nigeria. No one will save Nigeria for Nigerians of today and tomorrow. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that Nigeria takes her rightful place in the comity of nations.
We may disagree internally; we may disagree politically; we may disagree on ways and means, we may disagree on who is the best suited to lead us at any point in time, but the single most important thing in our journey to nationhood is that we are self-governing. That alone is worth celebrating.
But while we celebrate, let’s remember that we still have daunting challenges ahead. So, let’s roll up and sleeves and face those challenges squarely. We make stumble, make mistakes, or take wrong turns, but let’s not disagree on the destiny of our country.
I believe God Himself destined us to lead the Black race. We must recognize that and not allow our internal disagreement to destroy our nation. We must channel our energy, creativity and intellect towards rebuilding our country. We must recognize diversity as a strength, not as a weakness. Notwithstanding the prevailing state of near-hopelessness, I believe there is hope in the horizon. In fact, we may have arrived at that threshold of a new beginning.
The good thing is that it is never too late to start again – even at 59. It may be tough now, but history tells me that great nations are built on tough times. I can already see a better and greater Nigeria in the horizon – a Nigeria where religion, tribe and status will matter less. I can see a Nigeria where values, honour and integrity will matter more than vanity. I see a Nigeria where the Green-White-Green will be revered, a Nigeria where the colour of our passport is not the colour of trouble in airports around the world, but the colour of respect. I see Nigerians standing tall anywhere they go around the world.
Happy 59th Independence Anniversary, once again