Happy 58th Birthday, Nigeria!
A Butcher and a Missionary
Some 55 years ago, in Kwara State, Nigeria, a butcher had a son. Around the same time, a missionary in the Northern part of Nigeria had a daughter. Both children were born into low-income families.
The butcher’s son attended Victory Comprehensive Secondary School- an educational institution, built selflessly in the public’s interest, that provided quality yet affordable education for local residents. He went on to lead peace efforts to quell unrest in the Niger Delta region and preach the Gospel all over the South-South for many years.
In the North, the government had created a program to pick up young girls out on streets and send them to a Shekarau Girls Boarding School. It was at this boarding school the missionary’s daughter received her secondary education. The program, borne out of the communal belief in educating the girl child’s, made sure that all the resources they needed were provided for them as they learned.
The boy and girl met each other at Kwara College of Technology (now Kwara Poly) and then went on to University of Ilorin, got married and became the parents of my friend, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, who has founded two fast-growing startups, Andela, and Flutterwave, and continues to dedicate himself to building the future of Nigeria.
The Current State of Nigeria
We are about 200 million people, with 45% of us under the age of twenty-five. Our youth are talented and hardworking, but they are also disenchanted because our country has failed to provide them with the opportunities to convert their brilliance into a desirable quality of life. This disillusionment has contributed to selfish quests for survival, and so it’s not surprising that many are migrating to countries like Canada, Germany, and the UK.
What would be the fate of the butchers’ sons and the missionaries’ daughters in 2018 Nigeria?
Their fate will be the future of Nigeria. Thirty-two years from now, in the year 2050, Nigeria will be the 3rd most populous nation in the world., and 60% of us will be younger than thirty-five years old.
I wish that Nigeria prospers.
I wish that Nigerians in all facets of society act in the public interest of our communities.
I wish that strong, selfless, ethical, wise leaders emerge and pave the way for a thriving Nigerian reality with healthy, and happy citizens.
I wish that Nigeria becomes a country where its citizens live by our national pledge:
I pledge to Nigeria, my country; to be faithful, loyal, and honest
To serve Nigeria with all my strength; to defend her unity
And uphold her honor and glory; so help me God.