By Kede Aihie
Since its creation in 1914, Nigeria attained 100 years in 2014 and has a population of over 180 million people, nearly a fifth of the population of the African continent.
Nigeria is celebrating its 54th independence on 1st October 2014. The day is a statutory public holiday and the Federal Government has marked this year’s independence with national honours award conferred, on 313 Nigerians and friends of the country.
During the Award ceremony, President Jonathan announced the placement of the designer of the National flag, (Pa Michael Akinkunmi) on a salary of a Special Assistant to the President for life.
According to President Jonathan, the lives of the steward, the taxi driver and the traffic warden had further confirmed his position that people who say poverty drives one to criminality were wrong.
Mr Imeh Usuah, is the taxi driver, in 2007, who returned N18 million left in his cab by a foreigner who hired him from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja. Indeed, his act of honesty has rightly been rewarded, this brings to mind, the heroism of another Nigerian,
Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh. Her act of patriotism and professionalism saved Nigeria from a health and economic catastrophe.as she prevented Liberian Patrick Sawyer from spreading Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria.
There are deficiencies in quality of leadership, security, infrastructural development, human capital development, corruption etc. I am optimistic that that these challenges are surmountable.
As 2015 election is fast approaching, stakeholders have a crucial role to play particularly voters, they must be on guard against unscrupulous characters who for one reason or the other have warmed their way into politics. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should conduct credible, free and fair elections. The security agencies, political parties, politicians, their supporters and, indeed, all Nigerian stakeholders should ensure that the election is not marred by desperate elements.
A change of mind set
The decay in the norms and core values that were the hallmark of Nigeria until the early 1980s have been jettisoned, compounded by military dictatorship. There is the need for us as a people in addressing the problem to ensure behavioural change through civic education for citizens.
Plenty to celebrate
Nollywood, Nigeria’s booming film industry, has grown in recent years into a mighty movie-making machine, capturing audiences with its universal themes and strong narratives of urban culture.
The mega industry, one of Nigeria’s biggest employers, has been known for churning out more than 1,000 typically low-budget films a year, fusing a wide array of stories ranging from romance and drama to comedy. Nollywood movies are attracting funding of a few million dollars, benefiting from the films’ growing popularity.
In 2014, Nigeria’s GDP, now worth $510 billion, according to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and soared past the previous leader, South Africa, worth $370 billion. Nigeria Magazine in issue 8 in 2013 had previously written about the Nigerian economy ($550billion) being the largest in Africa, a year before the NBS released its figures.
The Nigerian economy has grown at an average rate of around 7% a year over the past decade. It has energetic entrepreneurs and aspirations to be the tech hub of Africa, boasting startups such as Konga and Jumia, budding Nigerian Alibabas.
Nigeria has lots of people: more than 180m of them. One in five people in sub-Saharan Africa is Nigerian. Come 2050, the UN expects there to be around 440m Nigerians, by then far outnumbering the 400m or so Americans.
Wall Street Journal’s Frontier Market Sentiment Index which surveys blue chip companies in the US and EU regarding investment interest, ranked Nigeria as the number one country of interest globally.
Standard and Poor’s an internationally respected and independent ratings agency, revised Nigeria’s ratings from stable to Positive and Nigeria had verifiably become the fourth fastest growing economy in the world as recently attested to by several multilateral bodies and trading partners.
THE World Health Organisation (WHO) commended Nigeria for the way it handled the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the country. The country was, therefore, urged to provide expertise to and build the capacity of other countries in the sub-region on the way to handle the disease.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria against the odds where crowned African champions last year in South Africa, the under 17 national team won the under 17 world cup tournament, whilst the upper Eagles made a respectable showing at 2104 FIFA world cup in Brazil. The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, this year, gave Nigeria reasons to cheer at the Glasgow Games finished in eighth position, winning 11 gold, 11 silver and 14 bronze medals, surpassing their former outing in New Delhi, India.
Africa’s contemporary music scene, led largely by Nigeria, is redefining the continent’s creative landscape. Over the next couple of years, as it begins to monetise, create more superstars, and produce more content it will increasingly become one of the dominant cultural platforms in the world analyst say
In his goodwill message to Nigerians, Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola, advocated peaceful co-existence, cleanliness and rule of law as the most viable means of building a virile and prosperous nation. U.S. President, Barack Obama in his congratulatory message on Nigeria’s 54th independence anniversary, said the U.S was looking forward to strengthening its relationship with Nigeria in the coming year, especially on good governance.
Happy 54th Independence