Thousands of Nigerians have used the social media platform to express their expectations from the country as it celebrates its 54th Independence Anniversary.
The Tuesday evening social media opinion poll by Channels Television’s Web Unit, using the hash-tag #54thIndependenceGift, asked followers, “What special gift would you want from Nigeria as it celebrates its 54th Independence Anniversary?”
Majority of the Nigerian respondents on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ were unanimous in telling the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, that the best gift he could give Nigerians would be to put an end to insurgency in the country.
While Okeme Emmanuel David clamoured for better attention for victims of the crisis in the North-East, saying “Pacifying me for the loss of my father in the Boko Haram insurgency 3 weeks ago” would be the ideal gift, another respondent looks forward to a day when the slogan ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ would change to ‘Our Girls Are Back’.
Stanley Uchenna said, “At 54, I believe as a woman she (Nigeria) has stopped giving birth and will only be bothered with her Children’s upbringing. So all I want is peace, security of lives and property, respect of fundamental human rights and corrupt free nation where each and everyone will be treated equally before the law without nepotism, tribalism and favoritism.”
Osawaru Rychiee Iguodala states directly, “The special gift I want is for the Boko Haram insurgents to be completely crushed so peace and security of lives can return to the north-east of Nigeria.”
Also dominant among the requests by the Nigerian online community were the clamour for uninterrupted power supply, job creation, free education and respect for the rule of law.
Ayodele Omoniyi ‘Valvic’; “Power Stability is what I desire from this Government. It is a sector that revolves around every sector of our economy. Unemployment will be stemmed, (there will be) more research, innovations, business opportunities, reduced prices of goods and services and so on.”
While some were subtle in their approach, acknowledging the efforts of the Federal Government in different sectors, others were direct, making passionate pleas to the President. Some also directed their requests at agencies whose services they have not been satisfied with.
The National Conference, which ended in August 2014, also got several mentions from the social media users, contrary to beliefs in some quarters that Nigerians do not expect that anything good would come out of it.
Simon Samson said, “My expected gift is that our lawmakers should adopt all the recommendations from the National Conference into our constitution.”
Other prominent requests include a renewed commitment to credible elections in 2015, renewed fight against corruption, reduction in the allowances of public officers, public support for the military in its fight against terror, as well as condusive environment for small businesses to thrive.
With the over 1,000 responses received, it became obvious that Nigerians at home and abroad are not particular about the political affiliations of their leaders as long as they can enjoy the dividends of being citizens of a democratic sovereign nation.
Also heart warming is that in spite of the security challenges in the country, the citizens remain committed to having a united Nigeria with their generous display of patriotism and the Nigerian spirit, which believes in the future of the country.
Davidmary Ikpherua said, “I should rather present a gift to Nigeria with my little contribution to nation building in terms of entrepreneurial and job creation mechanism. Every Nigerian should do something good to make this nation better. Happy Independence.”
Ladun Elujoba sums up the evening by requesting from all Nigerians that they “should all act (the words of) our national anthem and pledge” with Femi Yusuf adding that “a change in the Nigerian mindset and mentality would be a most perfect gift for independence.”
President Goodluck Jonathan, during his Independence Day broadcast, made a promise to Nigerians, that “This administration is committed to making Nigeria safe for all Nigerians, irrespective of our places of birth, how we worship God and our political persuasion”, acknowledging “the great toll the conflict is taking on our people”, he asked all those waging war against the country to lay down their arms and embrace peace, adding that the Government would continue to deploy resources in the fight against the terrorists.
A day “when our nation will be turned into Africa’s food basket, where poverty and crime will be a thing of the past, where tribal and religious affiliation will not determine the right to leadership, but values,” that is the best gift Makanjuola Adebunmi can ever dream of. After all, as citizens of a great nation, Nigerians have the rights to big dreams.
Read the full conversation HERE