OUR country marks its 55th independence anniversary today. In a very fundamental sense, Nigeria’s story is also the story of my life, because I was born in the very last month of colonialism in our country, on September 5, 1960.
I grew up in those early years of an independent country and found consciousness against the backdrop of the hopes generated by freedom as well as the anxieties that were associated with the problems of underdevelopment and the inability of the post-colonial ruling elite to find the consensus to build the new country, leading almost inevitably, if tragically, to the years of the Nigerian Civil War.
I lost cousins in the war and one of those who returned suffered the dire consequences of what we would know many decades later, as Post- Traumatic Stress Syndrome. But when I reflect upon the early years of my life in our newly independent country, the motif was hope.
Hope about the possibilities that a free country can give to its people and the hope that we would be the generation that will build our country. I think that was a feeling that most members of my generation felt and they have conditioned our relationship with our country’s troubled history.