By: Olatunji Haleem
Today, Nigeria marks another milestone as a 57-year-old country, having gained independence on the first day of October, in year 1960. To commemorate this celebration The Transverse conducted a vox populi on how Nigerians across different sectors in the country will be celebrating today’s event. In addition, respondents also gave a summary of the key problems combating the country and the probable solutions to the mentioned problems.
Mr. Lukmon Fasasi, President of National Association of Nigerian Campus Editors (NANCE) said “one thing is certain today, Nigerians would set out en-masse to rally round about this so called independence again, best way I think is cool to celebrate is to reflect certain things. We should not be talking about water; we should not be singing praises on blink of electricity now. I suggest Nigerians should sit at home and reflect on ways to pilot the country forward in their own capacity rather than rallying around wasting money on frivolity”. While proferring solutions to Nigeria’s problems, he said that there are two key solutions to Nigeria’s problems; empowerment and limitations of imported product through the development of the country’s agricultural sector.
Mr. Arowosafe Samuel, President of the Union of Campus Journalists, University of Ibadan, said that he will be celebrating the country’s Independence in church. “You know today is Sunday and I will probably watch premiership after church. I will try to remember the country in prayers”. Mr. Samuel added that one of the key problems combating the country is corruption. “My solution is that capital punishment should be given to anybody convicted of any form of corruption charges. Gradually, those political office holders will rethink and do the right thing. If not capital punishment, 70 years imprisonment”, he said.
Mr. Balogun, founder of De-Excellent Tutorials, Lagos State, said that as a lover of the country, he will “pay homage and respect the traditions that govern Independence Day by putting on a dress that indicates the colours that represent the day”. While addressing the numerous problems combating the country, he said that “Nigeria’s biggest problem is corruption. It is the root of many problems in Nigeria. Corruption takes many forms and infiltrates all political institutions and economic sectors”. He added that “let us commit ourselves by bringing all hands on desk and submitting ourselves for a better tomorrow. I believe Nigeria will be better. GOD bless Nigeria and happy Independence Day”.
Mr. Alabi Yusuf, a member of the NYSC in Jigawa State said he will surely celebrate this year’s independence indoors, though with prayers that God helps in making Nigeria a better place. While explaining the purpose for staying indoors, he said it is to “avoid any possible rancor as our brother from the south east were bragging about attack on Independence Day, and we, innocent souls are here serving our country in the North. So we just have to play safe and pray for Nigeria on our own and in our rooms here”. While speaking on the solution to the numerous problems combating the country, Mr. Yusuf said “If you say leaders are the problem, I won’t agree, because the youths of these days are more selfish and power hungry than the so called leaders. So let’s not approach our problem from leadership angle but from the angle of humanity. First, see others as humans too and treat them as you want to be treated. If there is this love and unity amongst we citizens, there won’t be selfish leaders or gullible followers”.
Dr. Ademola Atanda, a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, said that “the 57th independence anniversary does not call for merry making but reflection on the journey so far. Just like Achebe observed that there was a country. It is an indication that Nigeria appears not to be a country again”. He mentioned that “Nigeria’s independence did not come with simplicity. It cost our past heroes humiliation, detention, oppression and the likes in the hands of colonial administration; nevertheless, they remained resolute and focused in ensuring total freedom from colonial rule”. Dr. Atanda expressed displeasure at the level at which tribalism, ethnicity, favoritism, greed, corruption, religious intolerance, among others have replaced the spirit of nationalism which was used to gain independence. He added that the questions one needs to ask as Nigeria clocks 57 years include: “What are the success stories in the politics? Is the country united? Should the country continue as one entity? Are there visionary leaders who have the interest of the country at heart? What is the quality of followers? Does the country sees education as a vital tool in building the nation as reflected in funding and appointment of minister of and commissioner for education? Is the country willing to harness potentials in youth in the development of the country?”
Miss Ojoogun Fasilat, a fashiopreneur, said “usually, I go to museums and sometimes governmental offices to see historical facts that helps understand the Nigerian history. But for this particular one, I intend spending some time with younger ones, telling them about the Nigerian history and how our independence has changed our landscape in terms of political stride. It is important to instill some values into these kids and help them, through past stories, to learn to become better leaders in the future, and also challenging people to be more civically engaged. Research says nearly 35% of the change the world has experienced is through civic engagement, which means if more people decided to volunteer to make a difference in their communities, the world would be a better place”. While commenting on the problems and possible solutions, she said “our educational structure is not built for the kind of economy we’re trying to grow. There’s a disconnection and one of the ways to change that is to improve the curriculum, by adding new practicable courses and refine the existing learning curriculum. Then there’s corruption. A fundamental issue which can only be dealt with by the kind of kids we raise. Of course nothing can be done to change the fact that we have greedy adults in political positions, but we can shape the future to be what it should be only if we raise our kids to be value driven and responsible individuals”.
Mr. Olasupo Abideen, founder of Brain Builders International, said he will spend the day by attending an event and showcase that Nigeria has been good to us all. “I love Nigeria and I shall continue to pray for her peace”, he said. While speaking on the problems and probable solutions, Mr. Abideen said that “on leadership, I am of the belief that Nigeria has suffered enough in the hands of our recycled leaders. There is need for the introduction of fresh legs in this game. The young people are the structures that Nigeria need. These fresh legs however cannot be found easily if young people don’t come together to build skills. On Unemployment, since university graduates are all expecting white collar jobs, they have become a liability and problem to the nations development. Social entrepreneurship, making money via solving a national or societal problem is your best bet to wealth. Let everyone embrace the entrepreneurship mindset”.
From the above findings, it is evident that Nigerians will celebrate this historic day in different ways. Some with peaceful minds but majority, with a troubled one, as the numerous problems facing the country have affected Ciroma, Chukwuma and Adekunle. But then, since we just have to celebrate, it is important that Nigerians reflect on where we are coming from, where we are, what we have achieved, where we got it wrong and what we need to do to move our country forward.