#NigeriaAt60: What is the hope of a united Nigeria as we celebrate Diamond Jubilee?

On October 1, Nigeria will celebrate her 60th anniversary as a sovereign nation, a milestone worth celebrating amidst the numerous challenges that have threatened to tear the nation apart. And, in preparation for the commemoration of the nation’s diamond jubilee, the Federal Government has unveiled a logo with the theme “60 Together.” The unveiling of the logo has sparked some excitement among Nigerians. However, Nigerians ask if we should hope of a more united Nigeria at 60?

If we examined Nigeria’s celebrated transition in to democratic leadership in comparison to what is currently obtainable, we might begin to develop a phobia for democracy. What you will see through the lens of Nigeria’s leadership is ethnic and communal conflicts, banditry, kidnapping, Boko Haram insurgency, agitation for resource control, extrajudicial killings and a host of other problems. It is even more troubling that some of these problems have persisted since independence.

Professor Yakubu Ochefu, a historian noted that “the corporate existence of the country has been tested twice.” According to him, “it was formally broken once (1967-70) and pronounced broken once (April 1990). It took a horrible civil war to restore the entity when it was broken and an equally brutal attempted coup when it was pronounced.”

The current attack on our polity that is being driven ferociously in a religious and ethnic vehicle has produced outcomes that many Nigerians have long envisaged. But we can’t allow these issues to consume the country.

Unfortunately, the problems confronting Nigeria are not problems to be resolved by wishful thinking. What do Nigerians want? How did we get here? Where do Nigerians envisage the country will go after 60 years of independence? These are issues that require urgent and practical national attention. Yakubu added that Nigeria is a country on its “third missionary” journey to a truly democratic nation.

As we prepare to celebrate Nigeria’s 60th anniversary we must address these salient questions if Nigeria must move forward and co-exist peacefully.

Until concerted efforts are made to address these issues the hope of a more united Nigeria at 60 may only end up as wishful thinking.

For now, this is how Nigerians are reacting:

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