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Nigeria at 50 essay by irem bright chimezie

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We are a young, dynamic and growing nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside the ugly part of our history, consolidate on the gains of our past in the present and forge …

We are a young, dynamic and growing nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside the ugly part of our history, consolidate on the gains of our past in the present and forge ahead for our remarkable future as a nation unto true nationhood. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

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  • 1. ESSAY ENTRY BY IREM BRIGHT CHIMEZIE: DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE&SURGERY; UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA NSUKKA, ENUGU CAMPUS. irembright@gmail.com 2010 INTERCONTINENTAL BANK NIGERIA NATIONAL ESSAY: NIGERIA: A NATION @50, THE PAST, THE FUTURE NIGERIA: A NATION AT 50, THE PAST, THE FUTURE FOR THE 2010 INTERCONTINENTAL BANK PLC NATIONAL ESSAY TO MARK THE 50TH NATIONHOOD ANNIVERSARY OF NIGERIA IREM BRIGHT CHIMEZIE 9/1/2010 irembright[@]gmail.com Consulting Partner, Afripharm Medicals Ltd. SYNOPSIS: We are a young, dynamic and growing nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside the ugly part of our history, consolidate on the gains of our past in the present and forge ahead for our remarkable future as a nation unto true nationhood. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.
  • 2. 2010 INTERCONTINENTAL BANK NATIONAL ESSAY COMPETITION: NIGERIA: A NATION @50, THE PAST, THE FUTURE ESSAY ENTRY BY IREM BRIGHT CHIMEZIE: DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE&SURGERY; UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA NSUKKA, ENUGU CAMPUS. irembright@gmail.com 2 THE ESSAY PROFILE Though with a continuous writing approach, this essay has the following outline:  How Far We Have Gone As A Nation  What We Have Been Achieved As A Nation  The Pitfalls And How Best To Achieve A Better Nigeria As Nation  Conclusion Essay Length: Approximate word count = 2,500 Words Font Character: Times New Roman Font Size: 14 Line Spacing: 1.5
  • 3. 2010 INTERCONTINENTAL BANK NATIONAL ESSAY COMPETITION: NIGERIA: A NATION @50, THE PAST, THE FUTURE ESSAY ENTRY BY IREM BRIGHT CHIMEZIE: DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE&SURGERY; UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA NSUKKA, ENUGU CAMPUS. irembright@gmail.com 3 NIGERIA: A NATION AT 50, THE PAST, THE FUTURE “We all know in our hearts that Nigeria is ours for keeps, yet we tackle 50-year problems with four-year plans staffed by two-year personnel working with one-year appropriations. It’s simply not good enough. This will neither yield us the Nigeria of our desire nor the Nigeria of our founding fathers’ dream, the future Nigeria” The statement above attempted a brief rear view of the past that brought us to the present in a journey to our future of true nationhood called Nigeria. Every so often, there are moments that define a nation. We face our own defining moment. Caught in this moment of the history of Nigeria, great challenges exist, but also exist an even greater opportunity. As a nation, we faced hard days and our own share of failure, but we learned then that no matter how great the challenge or how difficult the circumstance, people who love their country can still move it up to the desired state of true nationhood, a course in which we are currently advancing in Nigeria. That's what our founding fathers understood. They had their doubts. They had their defeats. They had their setbacks. But through their unyielding will and their words, they moved a nation and helped free a people. In the end, they made the greatest gift- Nigeria to all those who choose to make a home on her endless frontier. Fifty years ago, in a trading port named Lagos by the Portuguese explorers, which still lies along the ocean mouth, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words,- “WE THE PEOPLE, in order to form a more perfect union as a nation.” launched Nigeria’s improbable experiment in self-governance and democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots, who had travelled across unfavorable and harsh geographical terrains to escape tyranny, slavery and persecution, finally made real their declaration of independence at a Lagos convention that lasted through the first (1st ) of October 1960. Nigeria gained her independence from the United Kingdom
  • 4. 2010 INTERCONTINENTAL BANK NATIONAL ESSAY COMPETITION: NIGERIA: A NATION @50, THE PAST, THE FUTURE ESSAY ENTRY BY IREM BRIGHT CHIMEZIE: DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE&SURGERY; UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA NSUKKA, ENUGU CAMPUS. irembright@gmail.com 4 followed successfully by parting with her British legacy in 1963 by declaring herself a Federal Republic, with Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe as her first president. The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation’s original post-independent sin of disequilibrium, perceived corruption of the electoral and political process which in 1966, led to several back-to- back military coups as a result of an imbalance created in the polity by the result of the 1961 plebiscite. This brought questions and agitations that divided the colonies and brought the newly independent Nigerian government to a stalemate on a platter of the thirty month civil war agonies (July, 6 1967 to January 1970). Emerging from the war, Nigeria became to an extent even more mired in ethnic strife, as the Southern and Northern Nigeria became more critical and frictional in equilibrium and relationship as a nation. This, the country grudgingly grew along with until the 1970 oil boom, when Nigeria joined OPEC and billions of dollars generated by production in the oil-rich Niger Delta flowed into the coffers of the Nigerian state. However, increasing corruption and graft at all levels of government abused most of these earnings. It was perceived that a certain military clique benefited immensely from the oil boom to the detriment of the Nigerian people and economy. As oil revenues fuelled the rise of federal subventions to states and precariously to individuals, the Federal Government soon became the center of political struggle and the centre became the threshold of power in the country. As oil production and revenue rose, the Nigerian government created a dangerous situation as it became increasingly dependent on oil revenues and the international commodity markets for budgetary and economic concerns eschewing economic stability. That spelled doom to federalism in Nigeria. The year 1979 attempted a brief return to democracy by the Nigerian state, but was punctured by military incursions until 1999 when Nigeria finally achieved her stable democracy dream, ending almost thirty three years of military rule (from 1966 until
  • 5. 2010 INTERCONTINENTAL BANK NATIONAL ESSAY COMPETITION: NIGERIA: A NATION @50, THE PAST, THE FUTURE ESSAY ENTRY BY IREM BRIGHT CHIMEZIE: DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE&SURGERY; UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA NSUKKA, ENUGU CAMPUS. irembright@gmail.com 5 1999) excluding the short-lived second republic (between 1979 and 1983) by military dictators who seized power in coups d'état and counter-coups during the Nigerian military juntas of 1966 to1979 and 1983 to1998. With a most recent history of uninterrupted democratic governance for over ten years (1999 to 2010>), Nigeria is set to attain a true nationhood as articulated in our founding documents by our founding fathers, and elder statesmen by consolidating the gains of this democratic governance in such critical socio-economic areas of the nation as well as tapping into the ethno-cultural diversity of our nation, which has been the source of our strength and the driving force unto our true nationhood - the future of Nigeria which we are all beholding right from this ripe age of our jubilee as one indivisible national entity – Nigeria. Nigeria is a partnership that truly began fifty years ago this 1st October, on the day the union jack flag was permanently lowered and touched down, and the raising of the green-white-green Nigerian flag. This partnership called Nigeria has achieved greatly against all odds. In the past and current faces of impossible odds, Nigeria has attained democracy, sustained democracy and consolidating democracy, which is the belief we have that the future of our nationhood is getting better, swifter and more uniting than what have strived to tear us apart. Since democracy has been restored in the country there has been a gradual and impressive transformation of the political landscape in Nigeria paving way for the necessary development moves that is giving birth to the future Nigeria of my dream, your dream and our children’s children expectation. The key test to the future of Nigeria still lies in enduring civilian governance. Nigerians are, therefore, now strongly determined, more than ever, to lay a solid foundation for an enduring democracy that would be the pride of future generations of Nigerians. The currently achieved civilian government has shown its commitment to
  • 6. 2010 INTERCONTINENTAL BANK NATIONAL ESSAY COMPETITION: NIGERIA: A NATION @50, THE PAST, THE FUTURE ESSAY ENTRY BY IREM BRIGHT CHIMEZIE: DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE&SURGERY; UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA NSUKKA, ENUGU CAMPUS. irembright@gmail.com 6 even development of the country and address cases of marginalization in certain parts of the country. Today, Nigeria enjoys peace against periodic crises, owing to consultation in handling issues. Our achieved democratic administration is determined to transform the country, in line with democratic principles, into a land of opportunity, equity, of government's use of dialogue and progress and prosperity for all. In reaffirming the greatness of the future of Nigeria, our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short- cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom: For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and made a lot of sacrifices. For us, they toiled; endured the lash of the unforgiving weather conditions and plowed the hard earth. For us, they fought and died, in numerous places towards advancing our freedom and unity. These men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw Nigeria as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction. This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most populous, black nation on Earth. Starting this age, Nigerians, for us to get the green future that awaits us as nation, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking and re- branding Nigeria. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, too integrated or disintegrated, Northern or Southern-led, but whether it works - whether it helps youths and families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a living standard that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where
  • 7. 2010 INTERCONTINENTAL BANK NATIONAL ESSAY COMPETITION: NIGERIA: A NATION @50, THE PAST, THE FUTURE ESSAY ENTRY BY IREM BRIGHT CHIMEZIE: DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE&SURGERY; UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA NSUKKA, ENUGU CAMPUS. irembright@gmail.com 7 the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the funds will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Muslims, Christians, atheist and traditional believers - and non-believers alike. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this great country, Nigeria; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; and it is passing fast away in this modern age of Nigeria, that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; and it is fast dissolving in this modern age of Nigeria, that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and it is fast revealing itself in this modern age of Nigeria, and that Nigeria must play her critical and indispensable role in ushering in a new era of peace even in this continent of Africa and as a global partner to peace and security of lives and property. These can be achieved, this is our time, this is our year of jubilee, Nigerians arise, and Nigeria is on the move to greatness again for the world has changed, and we must change with it. To those who sow conflict under the hiding of religion, the new Nigeria is seeking a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders of ours around the length and breadth of Nigeria who seek to sow conflict, or blame Nigeria's ills on the West or the political elite - know that Nigerian people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.
  • 8. 2010 INTERCONTINENTAL BANK NATIONAL ESSAY COMPETITION: NIGERIA: A NATION @50, THE PAST, THE FUTURE ESSAY ENTRY BY IREM BRIGHT CHIMEZIE: DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE&SURGERY; UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA NSUKKA, ENUGU CAMPUS. irembright@gmail.com 8 To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; the new Nigeria is extending a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. To the people of low and middle economic class of the Nigerian nation, the New Nigeria is praying your support, loyalty, commitment, and pledging to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those Nigerian elite that enjoy relative plenty, the new Nigeria is saying we can no longer afford indifference to the without regard to effect. As we consider the road that unfolds before us at this age, we remember with humble gratitude those brave and great Nigerians who, at the birth of Nigeria, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains to make a habitable frontier for us. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all. For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the Nigerian people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate. Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old.
  • 9. 2010 INTERCONTINENTAL BANK NATIONAL ESSAY COMPETITION: NIGERIA: A NATION @50, THE PAST, THE FUTURE ESSAY ENTRY BY IREM BRIGHT CHIMEZIE: DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE&SURGERY; UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA NSUKKA, ENUGU CAMPUS. irembright@gmail.com 9 These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us in order to move forward unto nationhood now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every Nigerian, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. This is the price and the promise of citizenship. This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny. This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every tribe and every faith can join in celebration across these green arable and red lands of Nigeria. Nigeria! In the face of our common challenges, in this wave of our hardship, let us remember with hope and virtue, let us brave once more the challenges, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations. As we move unto this greater future that awaits us as a nation that have attained jubilee, we will have this clear understanding that relocating to Europe or America is no longer a fashionable option. This is not a time to abandon responsibility but a call unto responsibility, a time to consolidate and make manifest the foundation already laid on the founding documents of Nigeria by our founding fathers. But against all possible odds, we still believe that no matter our story, or what we look like, or who our parents are, this is our Nigeria, our fatherland in a world where we
  • 10. 2010 INTERCONTINENTAL BANK NATIONAL ESSAY COMPETITION: NIGERIA: A NATION @50, THE PAST, THE FUTURE ESSAY ENTRY BY IREM BRIGHT CHIMEZIE: DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE&SURGERY; UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA NSUKKA, ENUGU CAMPUS. irembright@gmail.com 10 can make it if we try especially in the horizon of hope- that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and crave for it. From mere thought that, together, ordinary people can do extraordinary things; especially now that the spread of information and technology (ICT) reduced barriers to opportunity and prosperity. While the twentieth century taught us that we share a common destiny, the twenty-first has revealed new Nigeria in a world more intertwined than at any time in human history. With the understanding of this essay, we the people of Nigeria, in order to achieve a better Nigeria should, as a matter of immediate priority, have a better understanding of what connects us to Nigeria and the universe, not what separates us from it, and form a better part of Nigeria we desire; and move to make our country Nigeria, a home.