Nigeria At 55: We Shall Overcome

by Ekokorhe Ejiro Friday 

As a patriotic citizen, I join millions of Nigerians within our territorial space and those in the diaspora to celebrate this special day that marks a milestone in the history of our polity. Exactly two scores, a decade and five years ago, we attained independence. Thus, the journey towards nation building, national greatness and development began with high expectations.

Today, while it is worthy of acknowledgment that we have recorded some achievements as a people and as a nation, it can be argued that we could have make much progress that we have at the moment. The purpose of this piece of article is not to apportion blame as usual, it is not meant to echo the ethnic, religious and cultural lines along which Nigerians have been divided over the years. This piece seeks to reawaken that vibrancy, proactiveness that has long waned from the youths. This piece seeks to announce to all youths of the federation that though the older political leaders may think that they have succeeded in relegating the youths to the background, but we shall overcome them.

Indeed, it is sad that over the years, Nigeria has continued to recycle the same crop of political leaders. Youths of today are completely irrelevant in politics, leadership and the political process. This indeed troubles the heart. However, at this point, I wish to ask and this is a question that every patriotic youth should ask his or herself, must we continue this way? How do we wish for our own generation to be remembered? Considering the fact that four decades from now, coming generation will ask us what we did in our time to make this nation a better place where people, irrespective of their religion or where they hail from, can be guaranteed the liberty/freedom to engage in the pursuit of happiness, adequate social security and equality before the law. I shall allow you to answer that question in which ever way you choose to.

As we celebrate this special day, let us youths begin to gear ourselves towards greater participation in the political process of our nation. A new age is upon us. Last year we celebrated a century of our existence as an entity. The second half of that century was characterised by electoral violence, religious tolerance & extremism, census crises, military coups, political assassinations and repeated disappointment of the masses, looting, all these by mostly the older citizens. Though there are some exceptions among them but as a generation they have failed us and we must not also fail the coming generation.

This century that we have just began as a people and as a nation should be about us. It is time for us to come together and show the world that indeed we are a peculiar generation, wonderfully made for this age and that as much as we have been abused, shackled, oppressed, shortchanged, deceived, deprived and our spirit dampened by our political leaders, the older citizens, we can overcome and we shall overcome. I call on every youth, whatever your qualification, level of education, tribe, religion tongue, colour and shape, let’s come together. We are a generation. We are leaders of today and not tomorrow. We can make a difference, we can overcome our leaders. Some may ask, is it possible? Yes it is! With unity and oneness, we can replace these older, corrupt political leaders. A casual perusal of history will reveal that yes, we can overcome. The Americans did it in 1776, the south Africans did it, our nationalists did it and so we can do it too.

For so long, the older political leaders have used religion and ethnicity to create division amongst the youths. Let us come together and begin anew. It is time to tell our leaders that while they may bicker and fight themselves, even beat the drums of war, we are a different generation and as such have decided to chart a new and peculiar course in the affairs of this nation. After all, we’re all confronted with the same challenges. They do not hold the key to our progress and manifest destiny. We hold the key. Its in our hands to be great, to make our nation great and we can only do this by collectively resolving to take our destinies in our hands. Though, like the children of Israel, we are oppressed at the moment, we shall overcome. Though it may seem like they have all the might and resources, we shall overcome because we constitute 70% of our population. I urge every youth this day, let’s come together, rather than spend our energy and intellect defending any of the two dominant political party, channel such intellect towards our emancipation and I know that we shall overcome .

-Ekokorhe Ejiro Friday