NIGERIA AT 60

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I bring you best wishes from Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.

The sad reality in our dear country is disturbing. It’s being passed around as commonplace. Mr President, you have to do something with the power in your care.

Today, October 1, you’ll be leading Nigerians (including my humble self) through the rituals of celebrating our 60th independence anniversary. I’m glad that the celebration will be low-keyed this time, and that means more money to spend on projects and programmes that will boost the quality of life for the average Nigerian.

The journeying has been thorny, but we have survived and taken significant steps. However, there is a lot more to do with regard to the economy, security and infrastructure.

Recently, you made a wish on being on the good side of history when you leave Aso Rock Villa. This moment is a great opportunity to work for this wish with your body language and actions.

Although we’re having a moderate celebration today, which is a reasonable thing to do, presenting a special gift to Nigerians wouldn’t be a bad idea. I hope you’ll accept my gift idea. It’s to restore peace and security. It’s one idea that will benefit everyone and our dear country. With due respect, sir, tweaking the nation’s security infrastructure and chiefs seems perfect as independence day gift. As things stand with security, combating insurgency is stuck in the trial and error approach. It is not working. The approach and defeat rhetoric by the service chiefs is slowing things down. We have to keep the country together.

In the last two months, Borno State governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum has escaped death thrice by the whiskers. Unfortunately, a hundred more citizens (including gallant armed forces) haven’t been lucky as the governor. Hope is in crunches in that part of the country and in many more places. Togetherness feels the pangs of division, every now and then. Despite this, there is good news. It’s well within your reach to make things work for all of us. And we don’t necessarily require external influence to get this done.

Afeez Odunoye,

Lagos