Today, Nigeria is celebrating its 54th Independence Anniversary with a lot of mixed feelings, good and bad stories to tell, numerous openings to patch and unimaginable wounds to heal. For me, this is a story of every nation, especially a diverse country like ours, that would have to crawl, stagger and attain development. The road is always rough, thorny and arduous.
Some people believe, at 54, Nigeria is matured enough to put all early developmental crises behind its back. I feel this is true if Nigerians mean allowing their cherished country to reach its greater height.
If I were in Nigeria today, I’d have loved to read this poem to the audience of our independence celebration. All the same, the Internet has provided the closest connectivity that takes away distance and boundaries. So, I’d like to share this piece with you – a reflection of my thought for Nigeria – as a tribute to today’s Independence Anniversary.
O rise my compatriots!
Let’s keep the hope! Let’s sing the song!
Let’s remember the promise of the beginning
You, Nigeria, traversed back and forth
A long and undulating voyage across the Atlantic
A solitude mission through the mystical cosmos
On October 1st, that unforgettable year, you were born
A tree that would nourish and fruit its people
Soon, through a thorny and clumpy road
You would taste the bitterness of freedom
When the sharp talons of the civil war clutched your back
You cried and crawled; fought back so hard
Recollected your pieces and dusted yourself up again!
Like the Iroko, you still stand so tall, your head high up
It’s not your wealth that makes you the giant of Africa
Nor your beautiful land the destination of the world
Or even your number a formidable black nation on earth
It’s the love and hope you give to your people!
The promise you give to all that come to your shores
The faith you keep in the diversity and dynamism of your culture
The tolerance you planted at the confluence of Niger and Benue
Which flourish through the streams and channels of your land
You lack nothing and have all it takes to fulfil the promise of your founding
Even when today we see a pregnant storm, a violent tide
Whirling and raising, dancing in a dance of destruction
Towards this titanic ship, towards you, Nigeria!
We still believe in you! We trust you can!
Race my horse! Fly my eagle! O rise my compatriots!