Attaining 58 years of freedom is indeed a significant milestone. Nonetheless, we have faced many challenges and problems in the past 58 years. We have had treacherous military coups, communal riots, pogroms, the Niger- Delta armed revolts, assassinations of prominent Nigerians and Heads of State, Boko haram terrorist violence and above all a long secessionist war(1966- 1970) that threatened to tear apart the country.
Over the past decade, Nigeria has blossomed both as a country and a people aimed at driving positive change. At the same time, citizenship and inclusion have come increasingly under threat from a multitude of religious and ethnic forces. Corruption, rule of law, Land tenure system, weak institutions, rising call of restructuring and resources control, are placing a severe strain on cohesive, equal and fair Nigerian state.
Curiously, realizing and protecting the right to Nigerian all is a growing challenge. Most Nigerians who are stripped of their livelihood outnumber persons who receive a fair share of the state resources. Indeed, the recent crisis in the National Assembly is a stark reminder that can escalate to the collapse of democratic institutions and in the recent past in our national memories has been the telling of pain, poverty, brutality, murder, mass extinction, every form of venality and cyclical horror ever imagined in our nation building efforts.
Furthermore, there can be no peace, stability and reconciliation as long as the political parties do not respect the rule of law and internal democracy. The future for many Nigerians seems gloomy and tedious. This despondency is commonplace.
In the final analysis, the unity and integrity of our nation do not depend on its empty political strength or structures of governance but on the will of its people. The Nigerian State needs to be re-structured and the nation re-invented for its inevitable assignation with destiny. Therefore, Nigeria at 58 faces the unfinished yet challenging task of building a new Nigeria
Contributed by Samuel Orovwuje, Lagos