October 1st is a day for joy and celebrations for us Nigerians, whatever the circumstances we find ourselves in because it is the day, 55 years ago; we liberated ourselves from the shackles of colonialism and began our long march to nationhood and to greatness.
“October 1st is a day for joy and celebrations for us Nigerians, whatever the circumstances we find ourselves in because it is the day, 55 years ago; we liberated ourselves from the shackles of colonialism and began our long march to nationhood and to greatness.” – Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria
This was the opening paragraph of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Independence Day speech on October 1, 2015, and it gives suitable reasons why Nigeria’s freedom should always be celebrated.
However, before now, Nigeria’s Independence Days were affairs filled with gloom and pessimism for many of its citizens.
The country seemed to be slipping backwards and backwards on the progress scale and every October 1, which marked a new year, made this decline seem more obvious with many Nigerians left asking “What are we celebrating?”
Nevertheless, the past one year has left citizens with reasons to celebrate and hope that the country might have finally begun its march to greatness.
One such reason for celebration is the successful conduct of Nigeria’s 2015 general elections. The entire world predicted and was waiting for an eruption of violence which would divide the country for good.
However, against all odds, Nigeria’s most anticipated elections were peaceful and largely free and fair.
Former President, Goodluck Jonathan’s concession of defeat to Buhari came as a pleasant surprise and put the country in a favourable light for the first time in many years.
Buhari’s presidency was ushered in along with the hopes and expectations of Nigerians that, as promised by the All Progressives Congress (APC), things would finally change.
The president got to work immediately on the Boko Haram insurgency and after a series of security summits and conferences, it seems that the Nigerian military is finally making progress in the war against terror.
The improvement in electricity generation has also come as a pleasant surprise to citizens as most people now enjoy steady power supply and have no need to fuel their generators.
On August 12, 2015, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali said that power generation in the country had peaked at 4,600 MW from 1,327MW in May.
Another area to which Buhari has devoted his energies is the fight against corruption. The president has repeatedly promised that his administration would recover Nigeria’s looted funds and put a final stop to the plague of corruption.
Buhari’s administration has been severely criticized but many are in agreement that the country is towing a very new and very delicate path.
It would seem that for the first time in a long time Nigerians can finally have the audacity to hope for a nation that will one day be worth celebrating.
Happy Independence Day.
See gallery of Buhari's inauguration below: