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Independence was a huge stepping stone for the country and the people of Nigeria in 1960. It was the countries emergence from Colonialism, and fast forward to this day, Nigeria is 56. Out of those 56 years I’ve only been around for 18, and 56 years doesn’t mean much to me. Growing up I watched how the exchange rate has gone from 115N to a Dollar to 460N to a Dollar. Growing up I used to hear about how pocket money used to be 10 Naira but that seems like a fantasy because today all 10 Naira can buy you is pure water or sweets from a Mallam. I’ve also seen the price of fuel rise from 64N per litre to 145N per litre.

When you talk about Africa, Nigeria (the Giant of Africa) is one of the countries that comes to mind, but Nigeria is not living up to her name as the Giant of Africa- Nigeria can’t even boast of constant power supply. I mean, the leaders also need to hand the torch to the next generation already, because 56 years after Independence, the same leaders that were there during the initial independence period are the same ones there now (Sigh).

Ok, so that is just me being honest, but what do I know? I’m just an 18 year old Nigerian without much say in things at the moment.

However, on the other hand, let’s put on our Nigerian positivity… I mean just look at it, Nigeria has witnessed huge advances in, infrastructures and technology since 1960. Nigeria has also witnessed huge boosts in her Music and Acting industries in recent years (Gone are the days Sisqo would rain in the clubs, or so I hear) and now Naija jams can be heard all around the globe. Just ask Alicia Keys or Chris Brown even.

Nigerian Artists are receiving international recognition and getting featured on songs by foreign based artists, as opposed to the past where they received no recognition. Now, even Nollywood, Nigeria’s movie industry is getting close to being termed the second biggest industry after Hollywood and produces good movies and TV series on a regular basis. Nigerian has produced big football stars that have and are playing at the highest level of world football. Nigeria also boasts of winning the African Cup of Nations three times and her ‘dream team’ who has won an Olympic gold medal in Atlanta 1996.

We have even been termed the smartest immigrants in the US- then the question becomes, when will these smartie pants come home? 56 years is no joke, we are aging and have quite a few bumps and bruises (many self inflicted), but then we still have hope. Just go to the low and middle class neighborhoods, they may not have light, good roads or even a good drainage system, but once there is a reason to party, the communities come together and the Owambe spirits shines forgetting all our problems over an evening of Jollof Rice and good people.

We hit the streets to ask people about the state of our economy. Here’s what they had to say:

Nigeria hasn’t done really badly for herself in 56 years, as she has numerous achievements under her belt that she can boast of. On that note we would like to wish her a Happy 56th birthday and may the economy, exchange rate, roads and everything continue to get better. God Bless Nigeria!!

Let us know what you think about Nigeria at 56 in the comments section below.

Written by Bashir Umar

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