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OP-UNEDITED | As We Celebrate Nigeria’s Democracy Today – By Sunday Ogidigbo

By Sunday Ogidigbo

Today, we have some reasons to celebrate; for in all things, the Bible says, we should give thanks. We should celebrate seventeen years of our return to democratic governance, five peaceful government transitions, three amicable transitions from one president to another, and particularly the transition of power from one party to another in the last election. In the past seventeen years, we have seen many actors on our political stage. Their roles and appearances have cost us trillions of naira with little or nothing to show for it.

As we celebrate, let us bear in mind that these are not the best of times, on many grounds, for the everyday Nigerian. Yes, the government and its many agencies will reel out the score card of this administration in the past one year. The war against corruption and the relative peace in the North-East will, no doubt, top the list as progressive efforts made to foster national development. These are acknowledgements some of us will give to the government, but we know some others will still kick.

However, these are days of the worst economic hardship in over 25 years for most Nigerians. We must not allow the drums of celebration drown the groanings of the people as a result of prevailing economic conditions. The prices of everything in the market are skyrocketing.

As we celebrate, we must not allow anyone to use the red carpets that will be rolled out to cover the unresolved cases and issues that surround the death and mass murder of hundreds of our people in the past twelve months. For indeed, relatives and friends of the Shiites who were killed in cold blood in Zaria would not be joining any celebration. The dead of Agatu cannot dance in their graves. The many nameless and faceless citizens who were killed in the various elections these past months should not be forgotten. We should also remember that a lot of our people have died needlessly because of the death traps we call roads, and the theatres of sorrow we call hospitals.

As we celebrate, we can thank God for the safe return of one of the missing Chibok girls. I said one because I am not sure the other girl is one of the original 219. We should create space somewhere in our thoughts for the other girls, their families and the activists clamouring for their safe return. Clearly, they might not join us in any celebration today; but if they do, they will come to the party in their uniforms with their world famous hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Equally important and worthy of mention are the officers and men of the armed forces who have given all tears, sweat, blood and some of their lives. The fallen among them must be given a minute silence in any celebration today, else we dishonour the bravest amongst us.

As we celebrate, let us not ignore the renewed agitations in the Niger Delta. We must not allow the drums of the professional praise singers, also known as the AGIP Band, to make us not hear the drums of the agitators in the creeks. We are all reading in the news how their activities are gradually creeping on our oil production, affecting electricity generation and the ripple effect it is having on everything. Government should, if possible, extend the olive branch and invite them to the celebration. There is a wisdom that can be deployed to make armed men beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into punning hooks. In other words, if the government can aggressively pursue the cleaning up of the polluted land and waters of the Niger Delta, the people would have land to plough and water to fish from again.

As we celebrate, everyone of us must allow the wisdom of the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II to guide us when he said, “Before colonialism, there was nothing like Northern Nigeria. We had the Sokoto Caliphate that brought everyone from Adamawa to Sokoto… the Colonialists came… and called it Northern Nigeria. Our fathers were able to transform to being Northerners, we have not being able to transform to being Nigerians.” As long as we still see ourselves as North versus South and not as the Nigerians we call ourselves in foreign lands, our celebration cannot be powered by the full energy we are known for as a people.

As we celebrate, it is wisdom to remind today’s people of the significance of power, position and prominence. Power is transient for riches are not forever, and the crown does not endure through all generations. Everyone in power must not allow the voice of charlatans to becloud their senses. They should not be drunken by the wine of power and influence. I pray that the ear infection of the president be healed, for these are the days that sign language might not be able to convey to him the intensity of the issues the Nigerian people are yearning for.

As we celebrate, we should thank God for the flicker of light on the dark horizon of our national life, a few shooting stars whose bold steps and vision gives us hope for tomorrow, for indeed we must keep hope alive. We must celebrate the courage of our president and his intentions. We must celebrate the governor of Lagos State, a man that allows his works speak for him. We must also celebrate the governor of Kaduna State for setting the pace for many with his bold plans that we know he can deliver on by the grace of God.

As we celebrate, we must in all places of worship today and the coming ones, thank God that we have a country that is not at war; yes, things are hard, but they could be worse.

May God Almighty keep us united and guide us as a nation on the path of peace, progress, patriotism, prosperity and social justice. Happy Democracy Day, Nigerians.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Sunday Ogidigbo is the Pastor of Holyhill Church, Abuja. You can connect with him via Twitter@SOgidigbo or send him an e-mail as or visit:


Inspired by Steve Biko’s ‘I Write What I Like‘, OP-UNEDITED is the citizen opinion segment of SIGNAL. All opinions posted on the OP-UNEDITED page are unedited and the raw opinions of the writers.

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Copyright 2015 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to and other relevant sources.

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