Like every other great nation, Nigeria have been through it all, countless happy moments like the establishment of the 1st Nigerian University in 1948, the final democratic take over in 1999, introduction of global system of mobile communication in august 2001, the 1st ever international soccer match against Sierra Leone in Freetown which we won 2:0 in 8 October 1949, also the 1st ever under 17 FIFA world cup was won by us in 1985, again in 1993 and 2007 not forgetting the gold medal won in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta by our under 23 team, 2001 miss world crown, the launch of new satellites in 2011 to replace the 1st failed ones which was launched in 2007. Then few sad times with issues like the title ‘2nd most corrupt country in 2002 (though it’s the 44th most corrupt country this year), The civil war which lasted 2 years, 6 months, 1 week and two days from 6th July 1967 to 15 January 1970, Our women being ranked the most unfaithful women in the world since 2011 till date, Being internationally noted as web scammers and fraudsters, also being the 2nd country with the highest number HIV infected population after South Africa in the world. Somehow despite the entire derogatory remarks about our great nation in sight of some honest analysis we are yet rated the happiest country on earth. Optimistic and hopeful with the habit of smiling in the face of danger which in a long way in aids the minds of the citizens of our country in achieving the height we presently find ourselves in positively.
Yet again we haven’t achieved the Nigerian dream of a promise land.
At 52 we still have a long way to go, though we’ve attained an encouraging height in some sectors and need improvement in some sectors. Now let’s see how far we’ve come in some area.
Agriculture: agriculture is a major branch of the economy in Nigeria, providing employment for 70% of the population. The sector is being transformed by commercialization at the small, medium and large-scale enterprise levels. Major crops include beans, sesame, cashew nuts, cassava, cocoa beans, groundnuts, gum arabic, kolanut, maize, melon, millet, palm kernels, palm oil, plantains, rice, rubber, sorghum, soybeans and yams. Also the recent cassava flake exportation to China which fetched the country 2billion naira is a huge improvement on the agric sector of the country.
Economy: Nigeria’s economy is growing at the rate of 7.4 percent; and that most of the growth took place in the non-oil sectors of the economy. Also the overhaul of the banking system was quite successful upgrading the banking system of the country and also there is gradual conversion of 10 percent of its foreign currency reserves from U.S. dollars to yuan recently because of the country’s growing trade with China.
Education: The severe decline of the oil market in the early eighties, combined with the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), led to drastic reductions in spending on education. The result was unpaid teacher salaries, degradation of education facilities at all levels and strikes in universities and schools. The end result is declining literacy rates in the country.
Security: the security standard of the country isn’t what the nation can brag about. most of the 371.000 members of the Nigeria Police Force are busy on Nigerian roads molesting, brutalizing and extorting Nigerians, yet bombs and live guns are causing havoc and casualties at the beck and call of the “Boko-Haram’ Sect and the violent criminal citizens in various Nigerian cities and towns. That’s not a good thing.
Power: Nigeria has 5900 Mega Watts of installed generating capacity; however, the country which was only able to generate 1600 Mega Watts because most facilities have been poorly maintained as at 2010, has since this year risen and now generates 4477 mega watts. Nice improvement.
Governance: Despite the introduction of democracy and leadership stability in Nigeria, corruption and conflict remain serious barriers to ending extreme poverty in the country. In addition to the human and psychological toll corruption and conflict take on our society, it also cost money - the country loses around $40 billion each year as a result of corruption alone. The indirect costs of corruption and conflict can be even more devastating. Compared with peaceful countries, Nigeria has, on average, more infant deaths; more undernourished people; more adult illiteracy; and fewer doctors per person.
Sports: To be candid this year isn’t the best moment for our sports, even our sports administrators have shown that they are helpless and have no possible solution to all the problems facing the sports sector. The Olympic Games was a total joke, quite foreseen though because few days to the Olympics, our sportsmen didn't even know the camp venue in preparation for the games. Talking about football that have over the years served as a unifying factor have lost its place, to the point that our NFF officials now concentrate more on court cases than football administration.
Reviewing all these briefly enlightens us on the pace of our development at 52. Well it’s no news to Nigerians the state of the country yet we make the best of it. No matter how it is seen, we are better than our forefathers which basically prove improvement generally. Being one of the happiest countries in the world despite the sad news we hear and see on news daily, is the best achievement this country attained at 52; it shows hope for brighter days. Like the patriotic commercials on our national television say, we are happy people, we are Nigerians.
By Nnagoziem TheVyrus Udensi