Another year, another birthday and Nigeria is 58. Hooray for our beloved homeland! But wait. On looking back over the past 58 years how much have we achieved? What do we have to celebrate?
While one must not focus only on keeping up with the Jones, sometimes though, one has to check one’s self. It is not about unhealthy competition, it is about self-evaluation.
Some comparisons may be enlightening. Consider just two other countries similar to Nigeria in preexisting poverty, age since independence, and possession of crude oil.
Singapore gained independence from Great Britain in 1963 and was expelled from Malaysia in 1965. A small country one may say, but still. Singapore had oil but it took time to develop the country in order to attract foreign investors. It is now a highly developed free-market economy, and has taken its people from abject poverty to good living or at least middle class. Is it any wonder when Singapore is the 7th least corrupt countries in the world?
Then there is the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—it gained independence from Great Britain in 1971. Crude oil was discovered in the early 1960s before its independence. As of today, the UAE has judiciously managed its oil wealth and become a top tourist destination. They diversified their revenue source and built infrastructure which is now among the wonders of the world. They have wiped out poverty for their people.
Nigeria’s crude oil was first discovered in 1956 in Oloibiri in Niger delta. Nigeria gained independence from Great Britain in 1960. Today, hunger is more than it has ever been in Nigerian history.
So as we leave our 58 years behind and embark on the journey to our 59th, let us take stock and ask ourselves: are our leaders leading us up into a good place of prosperity or down into a dungeonof poverty, in the path of betterment for all or in the path of depravity and perpetual lack? Our politicians live in wanton wealth and the governed in abject poverty.
Arise O compatriots, make your voices heard!