Liberty? Independence? Are they to remain only words? Gentlemen, let us make them fighting words! ― Nathan Hale
On this momentous season of Nigeria's 56th Anniversary, I remember those who fought tirelessly for the sovereignty of our country and those who shaped her destiny since 1960. I remember our heroes past and present, if you like - our founding fathers, the political class, our legendary military, civilized business organizations, sturdy civil society groups and others whose individual and collective contributions have brought us thus far as a People.
I would like to speak in praise of these gallantly prominent men and women, circumspectly delineating their significant contributions in the 'Nigeria Project'. However, I do not want to particularly name names at the expense of others, who are as justly entitled to our gratitude as they are. We proudly hail every one of them and extend our heartfelt appreciation to all who have shared in the onerous task of developing Nigeria politically, socially and economically - till this very day.
We may not be where we ought to be at this time in our history as a Nation. Nonetheless, I'm deeply persuaded that Nigerians at all levels are a "learning people" and as a consequence, will continue to build upon the legacies of yesteryear(s). We will most definitely outdo our past. We will do better and we will NOT fail in this noble undertaking of nation-building as we carry on to give selflessly of ourselves in anticipation of Nigeria becoming the envy of the world. A country where 'every Nigerian' rises above mediocrity, a motherland where unthinkable anti-social practices are utterly obliterated, and ultimately, a fatherland where 'every Nigerian' is profoundly cherished, nurtured and treated with the highest level of decency - devoid of chauvinism, primordial-tribal sentiments and blood-letting deeds of immoral intrigues. That's a big, big, big possibility for us as a Country; and we eagerly await the splendid manifestation.
Accordingly, it's imperative that we become a 'Country of Doers, and not mere Dreamers or Talkers'. We must promptly identify what our active contributions and responsibilities are and should be in the making of what I call a 'Greater Nigeria'. It's incumbent on us to consider mending fences where and when necessary; to heal wounds across divides and focus steadfastly on what unites us. We must begin providing in earnest a more thoughtful and disciplined approach as to how we build our homes, families, businesses, academic institutions, healthcare establishments, government agencies and society at large. These connections matter a great deal in the making of a 'Greater Nigeria'. I'm absolutely certain that our unambiguous understanding and deeper consciousness of this salient call is the first step in the right direction.
We must keep our minds fertile and yet open to new possibilities while constructively and responsibly challenging the status quo. Every Nigerian must know that they have certain rights as well as certain responsibilities; and thus, must embark upon a conscientious and robust engagement with the 'system' for the greater good of all. The Nigerian people must be awakened to unsullied ways of thinking. We must begin to ask the "right questions", starting with ourselves. We must individually and collectively work at becoming the "change" we desperately want to see and hope to experience, starting at home or where we work. Enough of the blame games or 'name-calling'! That's hypocrisy going somewhere to happen! It's unproductive and annoyingly inept complaining about what we are unwilling to confront and/or change. Now is the time to be, to do and to give more of ourselves towards the realisation of the "Nigeria of our Dreams" - where every Nigerian is an active contributor to nation-building.
May God help us as we consolidate more aptly on the assiduous inputs of our heroes past and present. May our dear Nigeria advance more rapidly beyond doubt while enabling its Citizenry to blossom even more, resulting in a positive cycle of country and grass-root prosperity, which leads to development that endures for a lifetime. May we be able to bequeath to our Children and those yet unborn a lasting legacy that accentuates the "right values" and one that's essentially built on a shared vision that's greater than today. May God bless our esteemed President and Commander-In-Chief. May God bless our fellow Countrymen, Countrywomen, Children and our respected Nigerian Military and other Security Forces. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Happy Independence, Everyone!!! I love you all!
With the Usual Esteem & Appreciation,
Christian Aligba is the Founder/President of C.A.L.F Africa, a non-profit organization that's keenly developing and recognizing the next generation of African leaders - helping to create a new narrative, a new normal, a new beginning. Better Leaders, Better Societies across Africa. Learn more@ www.calfafrica.org
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