Nigeria: Our People

Happy Independence Anniversary, my Dear Reader. I pray that this anniversary of our country’s independence from the colonial rule will mark the end of our journey in the wilderness of underdevelopment. That God will show us the way to the Promised Land of a developed Nigeria, where each citizen will be free to dream, and to turn those dreams into reality, in spite of tribe, religion or gender. I pray that God will deliver our minds from poverty and the loss of values that has come with it. And that God will empower us to see the possibility of a new Nigeria.

I pray that God will bless our President, our Governors and all Legislators. That God will enable them see our destiny as a nation, and empower them to take us there.

And I pray for us Nigerians, that God will help us capture and define a clear vision for our future and that of our children. That this vision will create in us, a dissatisfaction with our present condition, and a strong desire to build a successful nation. That God will give us the courage to stand against injustice. And that where we have a reputation for being one of the most corrupt countries in the world, we will be known for peace, security and integrity.

We pray for the turnaround in our economy. That our country will begin to prosper like never before. That there will be jobs for our workers, uninterrupted power supply, good roads, and all the things that make for comfortable living.

Dear Reader, did I hear you say “Amen”? Let us take a few minutes to talk about us as a people.


A few weeks ago, I was excited as I watched a report on the people who live in Ajegunle in Lagos, Nigeria. Ajegunle has a reputation for being a slum. However, the people who live in Ajegunle have developed an Ajegunle Development Plan. According to that plan, in a matter of years, Ajegunle will become as beautiful as Victoria Island in Lagos. The people of Ajegunle do not mind which party produces their representatives anymore. They will only vote for anyone who will help actualize their Development Plan. They have even agreed among themselves to recall any elected representative in government, who works against the realisation of the Development Plan. Their leaders explained that previous development plans failed because they were designed by government, and new administrations were in the habit of setting aside previous plans. This new development plan will be owned by the people.

This is really a miracle because most of us do not realize how much power democracy has bestowed on us. We still feel helpless, believing that we are at the mercy of the government. It is a government that is at our mercy. In fact, we are the government. It must become obvious to us that things have not changed much in our country because we the people do not really want things to change yet. It is not that we are excited by the state of things, but we have a way of adapting to the situation.


Some time ago, we heard that some social scientists carried out research on the state of happiness of people around the world. The researchers came to the conclusion that Nigerians are the happiest people in the world. Curiously, the most frustrated people in the world are those that live in rich countries. Is it okay then for us to remain poor?

There is something questionable about our kind of happiness. But Dear Reader, are you happy being without power supply most of the time? Are you happy having to ride on a commercial motorcycle (okada)? Are you happy with the potholes on our roads and the hours we waste in heavy traffic?

I think that the researchers concluded that we are the happiest people in the world because we are not frustrated by the situation. One can only have the kind of happiness they say we have when there is no gap between one’s expectations and one’s reality. In other words, when one has no specific goals and no standards. People in the developed world are frustrated more easily because they have high standards of expectations. Most of us Nigerians have not been out of this country. If we had, we would not have managed with some of the things we cope with. Then we would be more desperate to see things change.

One of my friends travelled to South Africa for the first time last year. Tears rolled down his cheeks when he saw how developed that country is. Since he came back, he has been more easily irritated by things he thought were normal before.


I guess you think I am encouraging us to get visas and fly away to London, Tokyo, or New York. No. I am asking that all of us take a trip in our minds to see a new Kaduna, Abeokuta, Kebbi, Yenagoa and Warri that are as Tokyo or New York. Let us begin to talk about it. And let us go for it. Let us do whatever we have to do to get there, just like the people of Ajegunle.

Nigeria will succeed!


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