63rd anniversary: Rebirth of Nigeria’s Nationhood
By Temitope Mustapha
At independence in 1960, Nigeria was envisioned by its founding fathers as a nation that would be united, peaceful, progressive, and prosperous. There was high expectation that her abundant human and natural resources would propel her evolution to greatness. Nigeria’s place in the league of the fastest-growing countries in the world was never in doubt. However, 63 years later, Nigeria, the largest Black Country in the world, is still struggling to attain its full potential.
Undeniably, Nigeria has recorded tremendous progress in many areas since her independence on the 1st of October, 1960. The country’s uninterrupted democracy in the last 24 years and the continued growth of its democratic institutions are commendable. Since the return of democracy in 1999, successive governments in Nigeria have worked to deepen democracy, strengthen institutions that guarantee good governance, and deliver dividends of democracy to the people. However, a lot still needs to be done for democracy to have the desired impact on the citizens.
Over the last decades, Nigeria has been bedeviled by fundamental challenges of leadership, distrust among her ethnic groups, insecurity, corruption, and economic downturn. Although analysts have argued that leadership, followership, and prevailing structural systems are factors that play critical roles in societal growth, there is abundant evidence that leadership is key in the rate and level of development any country can attain. Therefore, strong political will and conscious participation of the citizenry through the exercise of their freedom of expression are imperative in fostering a democratic culture. It can safely be said that these factors are being guaranteed in Nigeria, engendering the socio-economic and political development of the country.
It is against the background of strengthening leadership for remarkable results, that Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a seasoned financial expert, technocrat, and Nigeria’s 16th President, declared that Nigeria is not poor in knowledge or human resources, but that she is bereft of efficient management and leadership.
Launching Nigeria on a new path of national identity, President Tinubu confronted the over forty-year petrol subsidy bogey in Nigeria with courage. He has blocked the nation’s major leakages of resources, freeing huge funds for infrastructure development restoring hope on the reactivation of local refineries, and setting the path to redefining Nigeria’s economy.
Aware that no meaningful gain can be made if leakages caused by corrupt practices are not plugged, President Tinubu has prioritized the fight against corruption in his government. As part of his plan to fight corruption, President Tinubu appointed a former Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Jim Obazee, as a Special Investigator to probe the Central Bank of Nigeria and related entities considered as a cesspit of corrupt practices.
This intervention by President Tinubu necessitated the Apex Bank’s release of its audited financial statements from 2016 to 2022. For seven years the CBN had contravened its 2007 Act, which states that the bank is expected to publish its report within two months after the end of each financial year. President Tinubu has appointed seasoned bankers and economists with track records of expertise capacity and integrity in the banking sector as Governor and Deputy Governors of the apex bank.
Rebuilding trust in Nigeria’s banking system and sustaining it to end inconsistent multiple exchange rates, President Tinubu unified the official and parallel market rates thereby ending the chaotic foreign exchange market that prevailed before he assumed office.
President Tinubu has also taken head-on the security challenges that have confronted the country. He did this through the appointment of a new defense minister and service chiefs, whom he gave the marching orders to restore peace and security across the country.
One of the critical ways through which President Buhari has demonstrated his will in the fight against insecurity is his deliberate efforts to tackle the conflicts between farmers and herders across Nigeria. He approved the establishment of a presidential committee dedicated to the reform of the livestock industry and the provision of long-term solutions to address recurring clashes.
In line with his administration’s determination to ensure food security in Nigeria, and support the most vulnerable, President Tinubu declared a state of emergency on food security and all matters about food and water availability and affordability. These were put within the purview of the National Security Council as essential livelihood items.
To address food inflation, The Nigerian leader announced the disbursement of N200 billion out of the N500 billion approved by the National Assembly for the cultivation of major staple crops in the country. He said this was to support the cultivation of 500,000 hectares of farmland and all-year-round farming.
Expectedly, some of the policies introduced by the Tinubu administration have brought with them unintended consequences on Nigerians. The President has appealed to them to be patient as there is light at the end of the tunnel. He explained that what they are currently going through can be compared to the short-term pains women go through during childbirth and the joy that comes thereafter. Prosperity is behind the corner for Nigeria and Nigerians.
As the Nigerian leader declared recently that Nigeria was now ready to reclaim its rightful position in the comity of nations, it is demonstrated in the stance of the administration on the fight against corruption, poor leadership, and insecurity, which over the years, affected the growth of the country and prosperity of the citizens. Nigerians are now poised to embrace the emergence of a new nation for desired development in the country as it celebrates the sixty-third anniversary of nationhood.