By Nadir A. Nasidi
It has been a tradition for me to write articles commemorating the Nigerian independence. Despite the obvious socio-political and economic challenges almost demolishing the historical foundations of the country, I am still optimistic about our journey as a people; a bizarre representation of ‘Magna Unum’, which kept the United States and its dreams intact despite its thorny, hazy and sometimes slippery historical evolution.
History teaches us that no powerful nation on the face of the earth ever succeeded without experiencing the inescapable duality of human trials; of happiness and of grief, of peace and of war. However, its ability not only to persevere but also to make an effort to surmount those challenges, as well as to adapt based on the intermittently transformative stages of nationhood.
As America emerged from the storms of its Civil War between 1863 and 1865, so was the Nigeria State during the famous Biafran Civil War of 1967 to 1970. This was no doubt a classic example of the crucible possibility of attaining national unity after the inevitable and devastating forces of war, anger, and regionalism.
As I have written in the previous articles, what Nigerians need even as the strings of corruption, kidnapping, insurgency, and terrorism tighten so hard on the neck of our beloved country is patriotism, unity, and personal conviction that would guarantee our survival not only as a people but also as one strong and united nation.
This is because, generations of Nigerians, past and present, have consciously sworn that we shall never let the labour of our heroes past be in vain. We also promise to serve Nigeria with heart and might so that one nation bound in freedom, peace, and unity will not only emerge but also endure.
Moreover, as a concerned citizen, I would like to call on all constituted authorities about the fierce urgency of the deplorable Nigerian condition that is at the brink of collapse and disintegration. I will also point out that three important things instrumental to human existence; land, peace, and bread were responsible for the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 in Russia.
Meanwhile, while a revolt is easy to arrest by strong governments, the swiping wind of revolution has no control. Therefore, I call on the Nigerian leaders with a strong voice to properly address the Nigerian protest before it becomes a revolt. As Lincoln once enthused, a house divided against itself cannot go.
With a significant percentage of the active population unemployed, the destiny of the nation is certain to be bleak with lots of uncertainty. When the people also remain divided on seemingly accidental historical experiences of ethnicity and religious bigotry, the future is even gloomier.
Nadir A. Nasidi is from the Department of History, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.