By Bayo Fasunwon
Nigeria is a very great country, mighty, honoured and respected (if not respected) amongst the comity of nations. Nigerians who have travelled outside the country are often amazed at the way and manner other nationals respect them, and speak glowingly of this great nation. In African nations, Nigerians are viewed as special breed of people that needs to be studied and emulated. It is true that those who live outside the shores of this country are much aware of the problems than those of us inside, but they are quick to note that Nigerians are friendly people, and the nation has great potentials. Travel within Africa, and most especially West Africa, and observe the envy respect given to one for being a Nigerian. Nigeria, we hail thee
Many Independent countries in African countries cannot forget the contributions of Nigeria to their emancipation. Her efforts in South Rhodesia, and now Zimbabwe, Namibia and Angola cannot be overemphasized. Even when it was necessary to call the bluff of the United States of America. Britain and France, on issues bordering on the emancipation of the black peoples of the world, Nigeria did not shy away from her responsibilities. Africans have benefitted from Nigeria’s open-door policies, scholarships and aids that have contributed in no small measure to the development of these nations and Africa in general. Furthermore, South Africa should always remain indebted to Nigeria for her efforts at ridding former of the Apartheid policy and the eventual enthronement of true Africans in South Africa’s seat of power. Countries such as Togo, Cote D’Ivoire, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Chad, Congo amongst others cannot discountenance the fact that Nigeria had contributed immensely to their continued existence as a country, and countries at peace in their territories.
The Encyclopedia Britannica described Nigeria’s beauty and attractive scenery as consisting of “of plains in the north and south interrupted by plateaus and hills in the center of the country. The Sokoto Plains lie in the northwestern corner of the country, while the Borno Plains in the northeastern corner extend as far as the Lake Chad basin. The Lake Chad basin and the coastal areas, including the Niger River delta and the western parts of the Sokoto region in the far northwest, are underlain by soft, geologically young sedimentary rocks. Gently undulating plains, which become waterlogged during the rainy season, are found in these areas.
The characteristic landforms of the plateaus are high plains with broad, shallow valleys dotted with numerous hills or isolated mountains, called inselbergs; the underlying rocks are crystalline, although sandstones appear in river areas. The Jos Plateau rises almost in the center of the country; it consists of extensive lava surfaces dotted with numerous extinct volcanoes. Other eroded surfaces, such as the Udi-Nsukka escarpment (see Udi-Nsukka Plateau), rise abruptly above the plains at elevations of at least 1,000 feet (300 meters). The most mountainous area is along the southeastern border with Cameroon, where the Cameroon Highlands rise to the highest points in the country, Chappal Waddi (7,936 feet [2,419 metres]) in the Gotel Mountains and Mount Dimlang (6,699 feet [2,042 metres]) in the Shebshi Mountains”.These beauties which support agriculture, coupled with energetic and highly intelligent land users, have ensured the provision of agricultural produce for local and international consumption. When Nigeria stops producing for the world, global famine is imminent.
However, the 2015 Global Terror Index had attributed more than 51% of global deaths associated with terrorism, to Nigeria, and were executed by the Boko haram sect in Nigeria. Added to this is the fact that Nigeria has had the largest increase of terrorist caused deaths than any other country in the world. Boko haram was termed the number one of the deadliest terror organization of the world, while the Fulani militants’ herdsmen and bandits occupy the unenvious fourth position. Since then, the numbers of deaths and abductions have escalated geometrically. The implication of the menace of these terrorists on Nigeria is obviously negative. The resources used in curbing the destructive efforts of these killer groups would have been enough to bail Nigeria out of her development crises, as well as the creation of investment friendly environment for foreign direct investments. The activities of these groups have fanned the embers of secession, and frosted the North-South relationships in the country. If Nigeria could surmount this siege, disseminate and destroy these terrorists, the nation in no small way arise and occupy its destined place of glory among the comity of nations. May God help Nigeria to overcome these evil men and blot out their remembrance from the face of the Earth. The positive answer to these prayers would be the best blessing to Nigeria as she turned 61 years of being a sovereign nation.
But it is not all bad news about Nigeria. In most cases, our domestic challenges have been blessings to the world, as we have exported many highly developed human capitals to other nations of the world. Our home grown Akinwunmi Adesina and Ngozi Okonjo Iweala have become economists of global repute. Who says any of these two should not even become our President? In Hollywood, David Oyelowo, Wale Akintimehin and Chiwetal Ejiofor and many more are icons and stars of worthy character. Our Anthony Joshua, Israel Adesanya, Al-Farouq Aminu, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Chimezie Metu and Josh Okogieand many more are giants. Youths such as Omo Bello, Ustaz Yunu Usman, Ufot Ekong and Victor Olalusi have also written the country’s name in gold. Time and space would not allow me to talk about Dehlia Umunna, Kelechi Madu, Olurotimi John Badero and Professor Charles Egbu. All these have become indispensable assets to the countries of abode outside the shores of Nigeria. But they all have traced their success stories to the ‘Naija Spirit’.
It seems God has blessed Nigeria with all the materials needed for a great nation to emerge. The climate is good, the environment is attractive and the people are enthusiastic achievers, but we lack one thing. We lack the leadership that would coordinate, organize and synchronize all these good virtues to produce a glorious nation. The Nigeria leaders over the years have been sectional, selfish, corrupt, autocratic and archaic in thinking. Rather than harness the God given talents inherent in the people to develop the nation, we have had leaders who killed our heroes, subdued development thoughts and handcuffed progressives. We have had leaders who see Nigerians as ‘useless, fraudulent, lazy and undisciplined’, hence must be subdued, caged and impoverished. O God, please bless Nigeria with good leadership, young, educated, versatile, honest, filled with God’s wisdom, love for the people and truth. Not just at the center, but at all levels of government. God has given us a wonderful automobile (country), but we lack good drivers (leaders). As the nation is moving now, a crash is imminent. O God, please bless us with leaders who have the entrepreneurial spirit that would combine our land, labor and capital to generate profits that would make Nigeria a good place to visit, at least once in a lifetime.