Friday, July 30, 2010

Nigeria's Independence @ 50 Years: My Wish List for You @50

Nigeria will celebrate 50 years of independence on October 1, 2010. This both a landmark and a hallmark birthday for this nation of 150 million people as it reaches the half centruy mark. So I have put together a wish list for the nation of Nigeria @ 50 years of age. So here is “My @ 50 Wish List for Nigeria” as an ancestral sister of the soil, a family member, and a friend in addition to the things the U.S. Government is doing here to support Nigeria in so many ways in the health sector under PEPFAR, in food security under the feed the future program, and in education, under the African Education Initiative, or AEI).

There is a difference between being a country and a nation and it is the latter that I wish for you as you build your democracy. So @ 50 years this is what I hear Nigerians say they want for Nigeria as I have traveled to each of your 36 states. They say You Are:
-- @ the point of making a difference not only in your future, but also on your past;
-- @ the point of embarking on the next century of your independence with a fundamental opportunity to change the social contract in your democracy
-- @ the point where social change is an imperative with your 2011 elections, the fight against corruption, and responsibility at all levels of government
-- @ the point where your road to change is paved with action to improve food security, education, the environment, your economic & energy needs, democracy and build self-help.
-- @ the point where speaking out for credible elections must turn into reality – and thoughtful consideration as to how you get there; what choices you make; what path you take to have a transparent elections so that that the conduct of your polls can secure your democratic destiny. And I know the new INEC is trying to do these things.

These important sectoral elements I have cobbled together with friends to call the FEEEDS or change-pillars of your nation;

Every generation is a force of energy and the generations in Nigeria today must be a force for these changes. I am going to fast forward and pretend like today . . . this evening . . . is actually July 29, 2011, and I have just laid down my Nigerian newspaper (not going to say which one I would be reading) and the headline reads: This is the Nation that Nigeria Built! But what follows behind this phrase will be the most important thing: Voter turnout High; Confidence in INEC restored; Voter Registry (not perfect but credible); Elections Free and Fair; the FEEEDS issues are being addressed. These are the things I wish for you. Remember democracies are messy as they are about a clash of ideas, they are not about violence, they are not about corruption, but they are about transparent and credible elections.

For full remarks on Wish List for Nigeria see (