The 70s then provided an opportunity for the total overhaul of Nigerian military and security apparatus that would deemphasized ethnic, class or religious sentiments and ensure all classes and citizens obtained positions of authority despite their origin. But it was not addressed, which played a major part in subsequent military coups in Nigerian history championed by soldiers from one area of the country; yet another lost opportunity.
The national conference being planned this year by the Nigerian President, The Honorable Goodluck Jonathan, could have happened immediately after the civil war to reconcile all groups, address all concerns, restructure the country and address what might lead to future conflicts, but we have not been sincere with ourselves since amalgamation. Can this conference address all structural issues confronting the entity called Nigeria? It seems it was a lost opportunity in the late 70s and early 80s.
Nigeria has been patronizing western nations including the US, Japan and Korea for cars and equipment for many decades, yet the Engineers from Igbo extraction who played major roles in the execution of the Biafran war and led the manufacturing of ammunitions and armored vehicles and other inventions were never absorbed into research centers after the war. These skills were not harnessed for national development. Yet, it became another lost opportunity.
Beginning in 1979, Nigerians had the opportunity to return to democracy led by Alhaji Shehu Shagari and to address all issues that led to the wastage of the 70s. Yet the Shagari government was increasingly viewed as corrupt and incompetent by virtually all sectors of Nigerian society. This led to the military coup of 1984 immediately after the fraudulent general election led by Major General Mohammadu Buhari. Yet, the entry of military administration dragged Nigeria back and it became another lost opportunity.
All the Military heads of the State that seized power after Buhari, include, General Babangida who conducted the 1993 elections that was perceived as the most credible in Nigerian history, yet he annulled it despite millions of dollars spent to conduct the elections. Yet another lost opportunity.
Nigeria is my country and I have not given up hope yet, even with the rough waves and tides we have had so far. Let history remember those that can stand up and say enough is enough. Let history remember those that gives good counsel to our leaders. Let history remember those who laugh while millions are weeping. Let history remember those gallant Police and Army Officers who despite all odds, gave their lives for the service of this nation even without any life insurance. Let history remember our leaders who despite the juicy temptation of staying back in power, relinquishes power for the unity and peace of the nation. You’re the Mandela of our time. We have this year and next year as an opportunity to right all wrongs and be remembered as a great nation, great people and God’s chosen generation. Have we lost the opportunity yet? I would say we still have time...