UGRFP Editorial, October 1, 2020. NIGERIA AT 60: Gains, Challenges & Fears.

As Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and home to one of the world’s most diverse cultures, tribes and religions, today marks its 60th year of self-rule after gaining independence from British rule following series of dialogues led by its notable nationalists such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Sir Tafewa Balewa, we at the United Global Resolve for Peace (UGRFP) must extend our felicitation and salutation, whilst expressing our admiration for the Volksgeist clamour that has seen the country and its people through very trying times.

Whilst it is now unpopular to speak of gains made by Nigeria, post independence, given certain prevailing challenges, it bears needful remembrance that 21 years of uninterrupted civilian rule decided by a transition from one government to another through the exercise of democratic franchise is indicative of a spirited plough through the terrain of nation building to find sure footing.

Three years into its Independence, Nigeria’s fragile unity was threatened by and nearly uprooted by military violence through a coup that in turn fed a sectarian suspicion that led to three bloody years of civil war. The declaration of “No Victor, No Vanquished”, though noble, has done little to vanish the mutual suspicion of assured subjugation amongst the three major tribes in Nigeria and other minority groups bound in solidarity and that, perhaps, presents one of Nigeria’s most difficult obstacle to the realisation of true peace and togetherness.

Over the years, Nigeria has struggled with balancing interests across ethnic and religious groups, making gains in some years only to lose same in others. It is hoped that today’s Independence Day Remembrance would offer a moment of sober reflection and a searching of the soul of this country for the better.

The risen cost of living against the backdrop of a fallen standard of living, insecurity- physical and economic, sectarian violence and calls for the dissolution of Nigeria have become the steadfast lamentation of its citizenry, and must thus impress on the leaders of this nation the truth that a lot more has gone wrong than right, and further that this necessitates a change in its policy direction and general governance.

UGRFP, recognising that the anxiety and unrest that permeates Nigeria at the moment may be manipulated by certain groups and people for parochial gains, hereby encourage all Nigerians to more peacefully register their agitations and dissatisfaction with government. We do not hesitate to state that only a peaceful referendum is welcomed in our much evolved world, and therefore encourage all misgivings, apprehensions and demands to be channelled with civility and in respect of state laws that seek to keep the peace and order.

While we do admit that it is not yet ‘Uhuru’ for Nigeria and Nigerians, we must be reminded of the evil of aggressive revolution as the Civil War so evidences. Genuine efforts must be made to create change in a peaceful atmosphere with unhindered respects to free speech, movement and association.

We at the United Global Resolve For Peace (UGRFP) remain optimistic that the great potential of this nation will be achieved through concerted political will and the belief of the citizenry. We will continue to serve advisory roles to the nation and its people, while pursuing and encouraging peaceful means for the emancipation of the Nigerian people from all forms of hardship.

We wish the people of Nigeria & Nigeria a Happy Independence Day, and more prosperous years ahead.

Thank you.

Shalom Olaseni

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