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Nigeria At 61: About Identity; Indemnity And Prosperity

Nigeria At 61: About Identity; Indemnity And Prosperity

What would a Nigerian point to as a true emblem of national identity? Every strength Nigeria shows exudes polarity. The leaders that should unite the people across deep cracks are content with seeing the country struggle to survive. There’s no sense of protection of what some people built out of pain and torture. There’s the message of hope, however, that things will improve. But it’s difficult to believe in these prospects, however obvious they appear, when the patterns are excruciating, painful and sad. Nigeria is breaking at its core, and the centre appears too weak, too passive to hold the active degradation of a national dream.

Nigeria lacks a national identity, yet it’s what the greatest nations of the world are built on. It’s a foundation for direction, it’s a reminder of the purpose of the existence of the people. It is what keeps us ahead when we are not on the same page – a national identity. Across Nigeria’s federating units, there’s no access to their own development. This becomes difficult to accept and rationalise when one sees how mismanaged the centre has left Nigeria. The understanding of the respective qualities of Nigeria in its units is absent. The government prefers an aggregation of the resources, and this has helped the pillage of those who mean no good to its betterment. They want it cracked, standing but wobbly.

There has not been a time in history when agitation for secession has been this loud. The reasons are not far fetched. Nigerians only see the passport as a mere document for travel. Hardly anything more. There’s no sense of attachment to the country, there’s no sense of identity that Nigerians are indeed, sons and daughters of Nigeria. There’s no identity, no protection and prosperity has never been much more difficult to achieve.

When you consider the amount of money spent on frivolities by the political class, and the failures of government and the state of the nation, a gory picture of where we are is painted. Across my status on Whatsapp, millennials and Gen Zs are warning their friends about reminding them of Nigeria’s independence. The “happy” is considered hypocritical, when there’s largely anything to celebrate. What would a family who has lost children to kidnappers and terrorists celebrate about the country that failed to protect them? There’s no indemnity for Nigerians, as much as an identity is lacking.

Everywhere Nigerians go to, we rise above obstacles, win and show the most little examples of what can be in a country that’s blessed beyond its comprehension. But we don’t have a common pot of soup, a common claim to fame, a sense of belonging that resonates across our national divides.

In what Prof. Pat Utomi described as “competitive communalism”, Nigerians have a distorted sense of unity and sense of identity that’s hard to feel. Yet you can’t blame those who don’t feel a part of it. It’s difficult to accept being a Nigerian. One’s nation shouldn’t be built to frustrate one at every turn, elevate those who don’t want good for the majority and decimate the ones who seek a common good for all. Nigeria doesn’t love its own, and an absence of protection, promotion and provision gives nationals a sense of dismissal from the Nigerian project, if there’s any in existence.

We can pretend and live in denial of our problems, make giant cakes and celebrate when majority of the people ululate, it doesn’t change our reality- our painful, discomforting and harsh reality. Nigeria needs a common identity, and an indemnity for those it calls its own, so it may prosper as its blessings may suggest.

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