Somewhere in the green land some 60 years ago was the coming together of a set of patriotic individuals to birth what is today – Nigeria – But that is not the only thing of interest, in this same land was the agreement to live in peace, unity and always uphold collective interest when the need arises. The decision as read was a means to end all forms of colonialism that were present in the land. Neither was it clear to us how we intend to initiate the self-rule but rather we are keen on ending the exploitation amongst others.

At the start, we all swam in happiness for this new development. We were happy to learn that our autonomy is not subjected and was ensured that the dividend of self-rule would be manifested in all sections of the country. By this token, we practiced different systems of government, had diverse leaders that steer the leadership. But one thing, the more we practice these systems and changes leadership, the more we keep harvesting numerous challenges that undermine our progress.

Of all these systems, we have more democratic rules in the history of the country but very unfortunate we are yet to start enjoying the dividend that comes from having this system in place. However, positive indices from countries that this system was copied from shows that they are reaping the fruits of labor, and everything seems to be working. With over 180m population with diverse religions and ethnic groups, successive government after one hundred and four years as a nation and 60 years of political independence still fail in annexing a sustainable development. The country is wallowing in abject poverty, diseases, the system is faulty and there has not been an institutional mechanism to address these manifolds of challenges. Where are we getting it wrong? Who are those responsible for our underdevelopment? and several others are the questions to be addressed.

It’s yet another anniversary celebration of our independence. The muse is all around and even a larger number of the citizenry are happy with the joy that comes from getting older. While being happy that in numbers we are increasing, the open secret is that it saddens the heart that at sixty years, we still cannot stand and walk, we keep speaking in a staccato voice. We remain a dumping ground for sub-standard goods. Our public transport system is chaotic, power supply epileptic, and sad enough our choice of leaders is another unmitigated calamity. More often, we keep rising to the deteriorating report of how political overlords abuse power, squander resources and commits broad day atrocities with no end in sight.

From what is clear, it’s obvious that our leaders take a larger portion in the rooting of those manifold challenges we faced but even as citizens that are not enough reasons for us to wallow in anti-patriotism and seek inexistent greener pasture. We need to wake up to the reality that we are part of each other, not just interconnected but interdependent. They need to believe that our collective future rests on ensuring that we all have a role to play and as well re-imagining systems that prioritize collective interest rather than individualism can we build a future in which all of us can flourish and sustain. Indeed, when there is love, there must be peace and we cannot have progress except we unite upon the foundation of collective humanity.

As much as I wish to remain optimistic that some days — Nigeria is going to be great again — the truth is, this lofty dream can only be achieved when we jettison politics with bitterness, acrobatic religiosity, and the collective efforts of the citizens regardless of ethnic, religion amongst others. Just like the two longest rivers in Nigeria, Niger and Benue fortified to flow peacefully despite originating from different sources. Our fate also lies in our hands, as people, we need to work together not as the divided people that we are now. We need to think, plan, act, and stop speaking in a staccato voice. After all, for the nation to be instability, there has to be peaceful coexistence.

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