About a year ago, a commentary not unlike this one urged us to remain positive and reflect on the very best of Nigeria’s successes during her 58 years of independent rule. As we celebrate our 59th year of independence, this commentary attempts to hammer home the same message despite the natural propensity towards negativity when talking about politics. We must focus on our achievements, not our shortcomings, over the years and the coming ones.
59 years of independence means 59 years of painful civil battles and lasting peaceful resolutions thereafter. It means 59 years of natural and economic prosperity despite the odds and the shaky inception of our nation due to colonialism.
It means 59 years of a resilience not shown by many other nations so soon after independence. October 1st is a good time to recall some of such victories. For instance, our response to the Ebola crisis of 2014, during which the Nigerian Ministry of Health garnered international praise for its effective containment of the virus. In a similar fashion, national hero Imam Abubakar Abdullahi, received the International Religious Freedom Award for his selfless rescue this year. Risking his own life, Imam Abdullahi saved the lives of hundreds of Christians in June 2018 from attacks by bandits in Plateau State.
Interestingly enough, Nigeria is the Number one Scrabble Nation in the world, home to
33-year old Scrabble world champion Wellington Jighere. Let us not forget about our incredible national female football team: the Super Falcons. These formidable women have won the Africa Women Cup of Nations a whopping nine times!. And as we so proudly state, Nigeria continues to retain its well-deserved spot as Africa’s largest economy with a current GDP of $1.121 trillion.
We of course have a number of structural issues to address. Regardless of these issues, however, Nigeria has emerged to a position on the global stage which should make us all proud to be her citizens.
Funmilayo Adetokunbo A-A, a political and International Affairs Analyst, writes from Somerset, England, United Kingdom.