To the only country that thinks it is okay to start a fight over jollof,
To the birthplace of legends that have carried Africa’s true voice to the world,
To the land of more languages than you can count,
To the land with a history too rich to be diminished,
To the land which bore the foundations of flourishing empires and kingdoms,
That can never be forgotten
To the land of Savannah and rain forests,
To the land of rich culture and fascinating history,
To the place over a 180 million people call home,
The first of October is the day we adorn ourselves with green or white or both for the truly patriotic. It is the day when our Instagram feeds are filled with accounts celebrating independence day; from friends’ accounts to the accounts of brands we follow. It is the day NTA plays videos from independence day, 1960; an annual tradition that might as well be national culture. It is the day our national news channels feature events across the country that celebrate independence day. There are skeptics, and they increase in number yearly. They question why this day is celebrated, why we set this day aside to celebrate a country that has failed to meet up to millions of expectations. Regardless of the myriad of challenges we face, I celebrate Nigeria not because I am oblivious to the tears in our nation’s fabric; I celebrate it because first of October is the day that reminds me of how far we have come. It is the day that reminds me to look past present circumstances and to have faith in the perseverance, ingenuity and courage of a people who cannot be held back. Nigeria is far from where she needs to be but she is not stuck.
I mean, we are breaking records and setting new ones. We are the face of Africa’s entertainment industry. Our youth are finally taking their rightful place in political, economic and social spheres. Nigerian food is being eaten in countries seas and miles apart from Nigeria! We are creating real solutions to real problems and it has been long overdue. Nigeria IS building, Nigeria IS on the move. I choose to celebrate the victories and play my own part in stopping the challenges from becoming permanent loses.
To the country with an amazing ability to work through adversity and still find ways to make memes about them, I raise a cold glass of zobo to you in salute. Happy Independence day Nigeria.