AT 49....

Monday, October 5, 2009

Nigeria celebrated its 49th independence anniversary on October 1st. A former colony of Britain, Nigeria started out as an economic outpost, supplying the British crown with riches and influence that pays dividends even today, and it eventually became a formal and independent nation state in 1960. An independent nation that even many of its creators believed would have a hard time succeeding. Since then, the country and its people have experienced ups and downs like any other nation, but as each year passes, questions are raised as to which direction the nation is going.

In the days leading up to Independence Day, there were discussions all over the place about how Nigerians would celebrate. An informal poll on the Nigeria page on revealed an intense debate on whether or not Nigerians should indeed celebrate independence. Some referred to the current ASUU strike which has left many Nigerian students at home for over 3 months. Others argued that the lack of consistent power supply gave them little cause to celebrate their country in darkness. Some others, in fact a good number, stated emphatically that the country was a "fool" and that "a fool at 49 is a fool forever." This frank criticism of Nigeria coming during a period that should have generated a period of happiness reflects an intense dissatisfaction amongst many Nigerians.

Another thing that was quite noticeable about this year's Independence was the relative absence of discussion on the issue on many Nigerian blogs. Nigerian Curiosity typically waits until after Independence to put up an independence-related post and maybe that is the approach of other bloggers, but that relative silence, coupled with the growing dissatisfaction many Nigerians feel about the state of affairs, is worrisome for a nation that will need as many of its citizens to think through the nations problems and join together to solve them.

Despite what may be deemed apathy by many, outright rejection by others and a deep sense of discontent, there remain many Nigerians who despite the nation's problems are hopeful for and committed to progress. In Nigeria and in the Diaspora, many welcomed Independence day with pride, happiness and hope. There were parties and over the weekend, celebratory parades. Personally, I took Independence Day, and the days that followed, to go over my writings and focus on a specific pledge I made to myself in the Nigerian Proclamation and that is a repeated thread through a lot of my writings. Once again, I recommitted myself to being a part of Nigeria's solution and that is a promise I plan to keep. Not because it will bring me any acknowledgment or fame, but because I want my children to be proud of the Nigeria they inherit and I don't want them to wonder, as I sometimes have, how my parents and those before them allowed things to go wrong. Besides, I don't want those who have successfully under-developed Nigeria to get the satisfaction of knowing that more Nigerians are not willing to tough it out and work towards change.

So, I proclaimed my own independence from being a part of what is wrong in Nigeria, with an eye towards continuing to discuss the issues, learn about solutions and work with as many willing persons to implement them. Its nothing grand, and of course, nothing is guaranteed. Yet, when I think of Mahatma Gandhi, whose birthday was the day after Nigeria's independence, I remember that even the smallest thoughts and acts can influence and transform not just a country, but an entire world. And with that confidence, I celebrated Nigeria's 49th Independence Day with my family, calling family members around the world and many of my blogville friends with whom I shared messages of hope and the anticipation of a better Nigeria that we all will play a part in molding from the current state our nation is in.

And with that, I look forward to Nigeria at 50.

UPDATE (10/6): It seems I am not the only one looking forward to Nigeria at 50. The US Smithsonian Museum of African Art to partner with Nigeria in a 2 year long celebration of Nigeria's 50th Independence anniversary.

From Nigeria's blogosphere, Independence 49 discussions:
- Incoherent's "Independence Day"
- Verastic's "49, Huh?"
- Ms. L-VIII's "Independence Day..."
- Chxta's "Twas The Day Before Independence"
- M. Koye-Ladele's "For The Love of Nigeria..."
- Misan's "A Toast To The Plans We made To Live Like Kings"
- Jide Salu's "Independence Day message to Nigeria..."
- Pat Utomi's "A Time For Sober Reflection"
- Shawn Da Vinci's "Happy Birthday Nigeria"
- Invisible's "Independence From What?"
- Nigerian Entrepreneur's "Nigeria at 49!"
- Imnakoya's "Nigeria at 49: Jelani Aliyu Gives Us Some Hope"
- No Limit's "Naija For Life(2)"
- Dee's "Nigeria At 49"
- Kilanko OluwaSeun "Get Out Of The Bus"

AddThis Feed Button

10 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

tobenna said...

I look forward's to Nigeria's 50th and more.

akaBagucci said...

hmm.. sadly I am wont to pitch in with the folks who do not see any hope for s change - unless something drastic occurs.

N.I.M.M.O said...

Lately, I have been asking myself some questions concerning Nigeria and one's patriotism. Like "What if Lugard was wrong?"

So many questions and I will be asking those questions all through October.

Like you, I look forward to Naija's 50TH.

Nigerialist said...

The situation is far from ideal but at least we have had 10 civilian rule and some sectors of the economy such as Telecoms are doing pretty well

Seyi said...

We will get there!
Slowly, but surely....

Dee! said...

Nigeria is indeed a great Nation! A positive wind is blowing and it will cause great changes for the good of this great Nation.

StandTall-The Activist said...

We should all work towards a great Nigeria at 50! It will break my heart if nothing significant happens at 50! God help us.

Seun Kilanko said...

Nigeria will definitely be great again! I actually dedicate this article- to Nigeria on his "independence".
Great work you are doing here-this is my first visit to this blog and I'm impressed.
Keep up the good work!

culturesoup said...

Perhaps people didn't feel they had anything more to say than whatever they'd said before. I recently posted a tiny paragraph on my blog which i wrote just over a year ago. It summed up how i felt about Nigeria then and it still applies now. Nothing's changed for me.

TheAfroBeat said...

Till we get there, my sister.

Post a Comment

Get curious...share your thoughts, long and short. But, do remain civil.