Nigeria came into being after the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates on January 1, 1914. It got its independence from the British on October 1, 1960 and became the 99th member of the United Nations.

It’s been 59 years since gaining self rule and as it were, the independence came after a struggle by our pioneer nationalists who afterwards laid the foundations for nation- building. The late Balewa, Zik, Awolowo, Sardauna, Akintola, Enahoro and a host of others are to be for their roles in establishing a new independent nation.

They faced a lot of challenges in their quest to lay a solid foundation for Nigeria. They also made a lot of sacrifices in the attempt to place Nigeria on the path of greatness. And while they may not have been entirely perfect in some of their decisions and actions, they are by and large heroes.

And today we celebrate them for their sacrifices. But while the euphoria for 59 years of independence lasts, we should reflect soberly. We should look into the past and note where we erred so that in the future we can make corrections.

More so, this is a time to remind ourselves that the unity of Nigeria is none negotiable. Our strength lies in our diversity and so our differences in religion and culture should be our source of strength rather than weakness.

Mukhtar Jarmajo, Abuja