Nigeria at 63: Collective Actions to foster Nation-Building – Tony O. Elumelu
Happy independence everyone!
As we celebrate another year of independence, it is time to reflect, to look in the mirror, for our nation and ourselves.
We know Nigeria, we love Nigeria, Nigeria is one of Africa’s most diverse and dynamic countries. We are a nation that excites, beguiles, and dreams. Yet, amidst our diversity and that potential that we all feel, we have faced so many challenges. These challenges ask us to answer a fundamental question: What is our collective responsibility in nation-building?
The destiny of Nigeria lies firmly in the hands of its people – you and me. I am an optimist and I believe strongly in the potential of our nation. We must work together to create the progress we so desire through innovation, and with unity in diversity.
In August, I spoke to the Nigerian Bar Association Annual General Conference in Abuja. At the time of a new administration – and without doubt some of our toughest times economically, I spoke about our collective responsibility as Nigerians, and what we must do to foster nation-building.
My prescription, my advice, my philosophy is simple:
We must set our differences aside and be united with one ambition, and one duty – nation-building. Whatever our backgrounds, geographies, religions, and experiences let us ensure that our country experiences a true renaissance.
2. Celebrate our Global Success.
We know the potential of Nigeria.
We know the resources, human and natural, that Nigeria has at her disposal. We must learn to champion the successes of Nigerians globally – in international leadership positions at the WTO, at the UN, at the African Development Bank, at the Afreximbank, in technology, in music and entertainment, in business, in arts and in media, in film, in sports.
We see these replicated at home – what we need to do is unleash our potential, create that enabling environment in Nigeria.
3. Business Excellence.
The Nigerian private sector is showing globally our capability, our ingenuity, our institutionalisation. We have global businesses with Nigerian origins. For instance – UBA, the United Bank for Africa, the only African Bank that operates in the USA, as a deposit-taking bank. We are now in Dubai, Paris, and London – and just as importantly 20 other countries in Africa. Who would have thought 20 years ago, that Nigeria would be home to Africa’s global bank!
The private sector must continue to surpass its own achievements and continue to put Nigeria on the map.
4. Shared Responsibility
Nation-building is a call to arms – a vital task – a necessity.
At its core, nation-building is the intricate process of forging a cohesive, harmonious, and united society, out of diverse individuals, cultures, and ideologies. It is the art of constructing a shared identity.
Transforming Nigeria is a journey that demands our collective dedication, building across political affiliations, ethnic differences, and socioeconomic differences.
One that is not the responsibility of our government alone. Great nations start with great people, not just great leaders.
5. A Shared Ambition Across Our Society.
Our private sector, our philanthropies, our civil society, all citizens must be brought together and be empowered – as real, valued and executing partners for this national renewal, this nation building.
6. Love For Country.
Let Nigeria be at the centre of our hearts. Let us invest in the brand Nigeria.
We have no other place, no other motherland than Nigeria. We must begin to show and share a sense of pride in Nigeria. We must begin to rekindle our hope and have confidence in Nigeria and in our leaders. Let us be proud of Nigeria.
The responsibility of nation-building falls upon each and every one of us. To truly build a strong and prosperous nation, we must be more conscious and dedicated in our efforts.
Let us be inspired by the lessons of history, motivated by the sacrifices of our forefathers, guided by the wisdom of our elders, and energised by the aspirations of our youth.
Together, we can build a nation we can all be proud of.
By Tony O. Elumelu