Nigeria Takes 62!
Our beloved fatherland is turning 62! Nigeria's independence is celebrated on the 1st of October in annual remembrance of gaining our freedom from the British Empire in 1960. There are so many mixed emotions on if and why Nigeria should be celebrated in this very timeframe. However, despite what our country is facing economically, we are a country full of rich cultures, amazing food, and beautiful people. Nigeria has produced a plethora of successful people in all aspects of work and creativity who have continued to inspire the younger generation. In celebration of Nigeria's Independence Day, here are 5 fun facts about our beautiful country:
1. Nigeria is the most diverse and populous country on the African continent. It is also the 7th most populated country in the world. This means that one in every 7 Africans is a Nigerian.
2. The film industry in Nigeria, Nollywood, is the second largest feature film producer in the world. On average the Nigerian film industry makes more than 1,000 movies yearly. This number is right below the number of movies in the Bollywood and Hollywood film industries.
3. In the United States, Nigerians are the most educated immigrant community. Not one of the most educated, the most educated. About 60 percent of Nigerians in America have college degrees. This is far more than the American national average of 30 percent.
4. Ile-Ife, in present-day Osun State, was paved as early as 1000AD, with decorations that originated from Ancient America suggesting there might have been contact between the Yorubas and the Ancient Americans half a millennium before Columbus ‘discovered’ America.
5. The Walls of Benin (800-1400AD) in present-day Edo State, are the longest ancient earthworks in the world, and probably the largest man-made structure on earth. They enclose 6500 square kilometers of community lands that connected about 500 communities. At over 16000km long, it was thought to be twice the length of the Great Wall of China, until it was announced in 2012 (after five years of meticulous measurement by Chinese surveyors) that the Great Wall is about 21,000km long.
Our Never Forget Moment
As with all things in life, there are always positives and negatives, highs and lows and of course, our country is not perfect but there are steps to take to reach the closest definition of perfection possible. If we are true to being Nigerian, or true to anything in that matter; one must be fully aware of the situation, concept problem, or topic to make continuous change for the better. In our case, as Nigerians one prominent event we must be aware of and educated on is October 20, 2020; not for taunting purposes, or to bring that dreadful feeling back but, to make sure that incident NEVER repeats itself.
Lekki Toll Gate - October 20th, 2020
Beginning from October 8th, not too long after celebrating the Independence of Nigeria in 2020. civilians of Nigeria began protests. The people of Nigeria came together globally to protest against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). SARS was founded on the basis to protect civilians from armed robbers. In return, they profile youths who take care of themselves; whether it may be a nice car, nicely dressed, and harass, extort and attack these young individuals. Their mentality has been programmed to that of "We are in Nigeria, and there is no possible way for you to afford the valuable things you have; then you must be a thief, fraudster, and committing a crime!" SARS are capable of everything unjustified because they are backed by the law, people are being killed, extorted, and beaten.
On October 20th, the people of Lagos gathered at Lekki Tollgate to continue with peaceful protests in the fight for our human rights and better governance. The governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu viewed this as a threat and declared a 24-hr curfew which began at 4pm; however as civilians fighting for their rights, they stayed. Due to that, the governor pushed it to 9pm, but still, our brothers and sisters made sure it was known that they will not budge. At 6:45pm, armed soldiers faced the peaceful protesters in multitude and opened fire. The shooting lasted for an hour, and they killed hundreds of these unarmed protestors. Lights at the Toll Gate were shut off and all cameras were removed.
Naija's way of improvement
It is imperative, that we know as the new growing adults, both in the diaspora and in Nigeria, that we are involved in the 2023 Presidential campaign. Take time to learn about the candidates and who may seem the right fit to put our country on the right track. Nigeria is facing problems of insecurity, and unemployment, and major universities are on strike which halts education progression. There are many things to be fixed and of course, if we are sitting doing nothing to better our country; problems will continue to pile up. We need a leader as well as supporters willing and motivated to take all measures needed to restructure our country to produce the best right from our own resources.
With adversities thrown at us and our backs against the walls, we still manage to ALWAYS come up on top. As Nigerians, WE NO DEY CARRY LAST! We are proof that through anything, something is always possible. We are great people, who are capable of amazing things. We carry our culture with pride because bears so much beauty in every aspect, whether food, traditional attire, or our movies, and we can't forget; OUR MUSIC! Everything Nigerians touch becomes magical, but we must not let it only be our people but our country!
Cheers to Nigeria turning 62 and Nigerians, making Nigeria as great as the people it produces!