Today, I Engr Ben Akak join millions of well-meaning Nigerians at home and in the diaspora to celebrate the 60 years anniversary of our union as an independent nation. Some people argue that there is not much to celebrate after 60 years. They argue we are yet to be self-sufficient as a nation, our economy is nowhere near stability and in shambles, the Naira has been in a free-fall against the other international currencies with no hope in sight for an economic recovery. Yet I know there is a reason to celebrate. For God has been faithful
The continued existence of our union as a single entity for this long regardless of all the indices pointing the other way round is a good reason to celebrate. Some pundits had predicted that Nigeria was going to disintegrate after the 2015 election, but to the glory of God, we are still here, together as one indivisible nation, despite all the challenges of insecurity, banditory and terrorism, resulting in a state of perpetual insecurity across the nation. I am strongly convinced that we are better off together, all we need is the right leadership, dedicated followership, incongruity, sincerity of purpose couple with big picture thinking and guided execution to put us back on track towards the economic recovery of our dear nation. So all hope is not lost, as we still have credible people with both the integrity and capacity to govern, the two very important qualities of great leaders.
So as we celebrate Nigeria’s 60 years as an independent nation, it is important that we spare some time for sober reflection to enable us take stock of our nationhood, consider where we are coming from, ascertain if we are on the right direction and establish how far we have gone with a view to creating a better and faster approach in arriving our destination – a truly independent and self-sufficient nation. At 60, Nigeria ought to have achieved stability on all fronts such that our institutions would work at optimal level. At 60, Nigeria should not be importing refined petroleum products for local consumption and subsidy payments should be unheard of, because it is expected that our refineries should be working at optimal capacities. At 60, our educational sector should compete favourably with the best of the best even across the globe, because quality education for our teeming youths is the bedrock and foundation for a prosperous nation. And lastly, quality and affordable healthcare services should be made available to all Nigerians here in Nigeria to put a stop to foreign medical tourism with the attendant capital flight out of our shores. A truly united and independent Nigeria is still possible and achievable, it requires a shift in mindset from both the leaders and followers.
Finally, I congratulate our leaders at all levels, President Muhammad Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osibanjo, all Federal Ministers and Heads of parastatals, the leadership and members of the National Assembly, our dear Governor, Prof Ben Ayade, Commissioners, leadership and members of the Cross Rivers State House of Assembly, Council Chairmen, Councilors, our traditional institutions, religious leaders, community leaders, the entire people of Cross River State and indeed the millions of well-meaning Nigerians in praying for a better and peaceful Nigerian nation where unity, progress and prosperity will be inevitable.
God bless our country!