The expectations of Nigerians were great when the British Union Jack was lowered and the green-white-green flag was hosted on the 1st of October 1960, to mark the end of colonial rule, which the country’s nationalist finally won in the struggle for independence, and the readiness to build dreams.
The expectations the founding fathers of the country had were high. The likes of Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Dr Alvan Ikoku and many others hoped to forge a country that would be truly one in name and attitude.
A country where citizens, irrespective of tribe or religion, would be free to pursue their dreams in any part of the country, where there would be justice, equity and fairness;
A country where the law protects the poor and rich equally and is regarded as supreme;
A country where the citizens would be free to choose their leaders and where leadership is seen as an opportunity to render selfless service to the nation;
A country where the wealth of the nation is used for its development and not squandered by the privileged few; and so on.
The past heroes of Nigeria did not fail in their assignment, in fact they displayed utmost commitment, selflessness, dedication and integrity in their service to their father land.
They used the first post-independence constitution of 1963 to construct a workable structure that would accommodate the interest of more than 250 ethnic groups which formed part of the federation and make Nigeria ‘one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity’.
They pursued their dreams with ‘heart and might,’ and one of the expectations of these founding fathers was to ensure the wealth of the nation is used for its development and not squandered.
But let’s ask ourselves these questions: Are the present leaders really making good use of the nation’s wealth? Are they really doing justice to the nation’s wealth?
Our leaders no longer rule with commitment, dedication, selflessness and integrity; they no longer rule with their heart and might; they no longer have the people’s interest at heart. Instead, they now use the nation’s wealth to enrich themselves through embezzlement.
People are suffering! people are dying in the riverine areas and other parts of the country because there is no good water to drink; accidents here and there due to the deplorable state of our roads.
You see massive queues at fuel stations with their gallons to get petrol because there is no power supply. Hence, they have to power their generators which causes noise and environment pollution that affects the people’s health.
Was this really the country our past heroes dreamt of?
As we celebrate 58 years, many believe that all hope is not lost as the country can still come out of the woods and become the pride of Africa and indeed one of the most respected nations of the world.
But this can only be possible where the current leaders are willing to uphold the tenets of the founding fathers of this great nation, who did not fail in their assignment. They need to totally and unconditionally embrace the acts of commitment, selflessness, dedication and integrity as emulated by the founding fathers in service to their father land.