Nigeria marked its 63rd independence anniversary with a subdued celebration, according to George Akume, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGN).
Akume clarified that no international leaders were invited to participate in the anniversary, themed, ‘Nigeria @ 63, Renewed Hope for Unity and Prosperity.’
“This celebration is low-key as I said due to the realities on ground,” Akume said, acknowledging the economic challenges confronting Nigerians and assuring them that the government was actively addressing these issues and striving to provide essential support measures.
Challenges faced since independence
A recent NOI Poll revealed that 31 percent of respondents believed that Nigeria had not achieved anything significant since gaining independence over six decades ago. The challenges cited by Nigerians include insecurity (23 percent), the economy (20 percent), corruption (20 percent), bad leadership (17 percent), and ethnicity/tribalism (8 percent). Other challenges mentioned included over-dependence on fuel/crude oil, high poverty levels, electricity, education, border security, and agitations, each accounting for 3 percent or less of responses.
Achievements despite challenges
Despite the challenges, Nigerians also highlighted some achievements the country has made since independence. The top three achievements identified were democracy (14 percent), national unity (9 percent), and telecommunications (7 percent). Other achievements mentioned included a large population, electricity, education, security, and social cohesion, each accounting for 3 percent or less of responses. Eight percent of respondents mentioned independence itself, fuel subsidy, the entertainment industry, hunger and poverty, and unity as achievements.
Priorities for the future
When asked about the most important issue Nigeria should address in the next year, 28 percent of respondents cited the economy, followed closely by insecurity (21 percent). Other issues mentioned included poverty alleviation (13 percent), job creation (9 percent), corruption (8 percent), bad governance (3 percent), electricity (3 percent), and education (3 percent). Fewer Nigerians mentioned attitudinal change, electoral reforms, healthcare, and constitutional matters (4 percent) as significant issues to address.
Countries impactful to Nigeria’s development
Respondents were also asked which countries had positively impacted Nigeria’s political and economic development since independence. The United States of America (27 percent), China (24 percent), and the United Kingdom (17 percent) were the top three countries mentioned. Others included Israel, Ghana, France, Saudi Arabia, Niger, and Russia, each with 2 percent. India, Canada, and Germany were mentioned by 3 percent of respondents. Strikingly, 22 percent believed that no country had positively impacted Nigeria’s development since independence.
Independence Day reflection
The survey was conducted against the backdrop of Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Day anniversary, though the country marked the occasion with a low-key celebration due to economic challenges. It aimed to gauge the sentiments of Nigerians about the nation’s progress and challenges as they reflect on the gains and consider ways to address the challenges.