Independence day: Where We Are, Where We Could Be

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Independence day; Nigeria is 59.

Independence day is upon us yet again; Nigeria is 59! What a wonderful world we have been able to create. Like any victim of growth, we have suffered abuse, ridicule; yet, we remain resplendent even in our imperfection. We remain, arguably, one of the most resilient nations in the world. Despite the seemingly endless adversity and negativity surrounding us, we have been able to persevere.

Granted, where we are now is not where we might have envisioned ourselves at the beginning. Frank Herbert once said: “Empires do not suffer emptiness of purpose at the time of their creation. It is when they have become established that aims are lost and replaced by vague ritual.” In line with that statement, we have lost our sense of priority.

Where We Have Gone Astray

We tend to neglect collective growth in favor of personal accomplishment. From the government down to you and I, we hold our nation in very poor regard. This is an issue to reflect upon, as we go about our independence day celebrations.

It is arguable that what makes great nations great is their ability and willingness to personify the nation itself. That is to say, these nations have successfully attributed human qualities to the image of the nation; seeing it as an entity capable of feeling pain, and the full range of human emotions. In other words, they have been able to make the nation more than just the name; they have managed to create a living identity. That, in a nutshell, is true patriotism - something we need to learn to do; seeing the nation as a conscious thing capable of death and decay.

In Nigeria, we see our country as disposable; we are, quite ironically, victims of our own resilience. The common belief is that “we have been through worse, and survived.” As a result, this mentality helps us to detach ourselves from the harm we inflict on our nation. Therefore, we can justify terrible acts by the ability of the nation to bounce back no matter how hard a hit it takes. Consequently, we will eventually stretch the boundaries of our resilience beyond its breaking point, except we do something about it soon.

What we need now is a nation of great people who live to positively impact others and build enduring legacies. - Fela Durotoye Click To Tweet

Where Do We Go from Here?

According to Fela Durotoye: “What we need now is a nation of great people who live to positively impact others and build enduring legacies.” We need to see our nation as a living entity in need of nurture and care. You don’t plant seeds and leave them to fend for themselves; you water them and clear the weeds to give them room to thrive. That is to say, it is time, both the government and the masses, stopped using the nation as a means to an end.

We need to see our nation as a living entity in need of nurture and care. It is time, both the government and the masses, stopped using the nation as a means to an end. Click To Tweet

In the sage words of Maya Angelou; “I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. Let us use this independence day as a benchmark. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.” Even as we celebrate, let us also pause in sober reflection. There is a lot going on that needs change. It starts somewhere; with you and with me.

It’s not what you can do for your country, it’s what you are doing for your country.

Happy Independence Week!

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