On this day, sixty-two years ago, Nigeria came together to celebrate freedom from the British rule. A day that signified the opening of a new chapter in the history of Nigeria. From then until now the Nigerian stage has seen different actors come and go, each shaping the destiny of this country.
But now I am here some sixty-two years later, just like everyone, wondering if Nigeria would ever be better. Everything seems to be wrong somehow, ASUU is still on strike, students have been out of school for 7 months now, insecurity is at its peak, inflation is escalating, debt is at its peak, people are finding ways to Japa amongst many others.
I have been here wrestling with my sense of patriotism and pride for this country. I remember back then in primary and secondary school, I used to sing the national anthem with pride and enthusiasm, but now I look back and laugh at myself. Like all I needed was to grow up and be thrown with responsibilities and expectations to understand the struggles of surviving this country.
Maybe you and I are seeing it all wrong. Maybe you and I should understand that our love for this country will be tested, and challenges in whatever form should be expected. Maybe we should understand that our pride and patriotism shouldn’t be based on the current happenings of this country. That in trying to make things work as a country we would make mistakes and have to learn from them. That our different ethnicities are the variety that makes us beautiful. As generations pass on the burden of leadership to the next, we try to keep the Nigerian dream alive.
Although we don’t like to quite admit it, I think we love this country. It’s in the way we the country reverberated with joy when Tobi Amusan broke the records, or the way we feel proud when a Nigerian is in the news for achieving a great feat, or the passionate way we speak about our preferred candidate for the upcoming election. The way we are so pained and disappointed when we lose out in a competition and there are many more.
Nigeria may not be where it is supposed to be today, but we will be there someday when we get it right. This is us at Agbeke Alasooke wishing you a happy independence day. And we are sending this because we have a firm belief in the future of Nigeria. And you should too.