Happy Independence Day, Nigeria

Nsọñ idem to a nation at 63

Nsọñ idem is an Efik phrase for cheers.

Every first day of October moves me to say something about this beautiful country. Besieged on all sides by her demons, no doubt, Nigeria remains a country I am obsessed with. If you sizz and stop reading at this point, I can understand your frustrations. Really, who sees beauty in an ugly, cloddish country that gives wind to its citizens, and bad news almost every morning? 

A country that thwarts one’s goals; that brings troubles your way no matter how hard you try to avoid coming in contact with one; does that make it difficult to be a Nigerian? 

Those are actual concerns that touch our daily lives collectively. Yet I have felt a deep, personal glue that draws me to the country. Not in the sense of a radical nationalist, as in Erdogan, Trump or Urban, but one who sees the power and strength that lies ahead of the nation when it is finally able to surmount its many problems.

Nigeria’s problems are not insurmountable.

My belief is that this country needs us, desperately. People who genuinely believe change can and will happen in it, and are actively pressing for it. Nigeria needs me. 

Oh! I am nobody. 

Just one who believes in all humanity and that we must help each other to survive, push civilisation forward and make our world a better place to live in.

I’ve reflected over the past few years and reviewed my experiences, pains, frustrations and even beautiful moments. Those past few years – seven years or thereabouts – give me the feeling of a lifetime reeling past.

Once, in fact, I stepped out of my own being and let it play like a film. I read it like an outsider, reviewed the scenes and surveyed for errors, judging myself and willingly surrendering my existence to the weighing scales of uprightness. What outweighs everything else, I found in the x-ray, is life’s most virtuous commitment —principles.

There’s nothing special, so spectacular or complex in my being. It’s just principles. Regardless of the condition, with principles, humans are bound to see the “big picture”. 

We endure anything for our principles. Trials, tribulations, anything. 

And we will win one day.


Very recently, someone asked me how I survived with my whole being still intact. I nodded my head slightly and, with a hand over my heart, I told her, “I am a Nigerian.”

I believe in this country and the struggles I have waged are worth the time and strength I have given. I have tasted the consequences of wrestling with a rigged system. But that has done nothing to damage my morale. Without my experiences, I will never be ready to heed the summons of the country I believe needs my service. Nigeria is under contention, it falls here or there, but we will not run. Rather, we will stand, stare our nation’s adversaries in the face and wrestle with it.

Nigeria’s problems are not insurmountable.

In our own lifetime, we will see a better, stronger and more beautiful Nigeria that is fit for all to live in.

Peace ✌️🇳🇬

Ojo, Aderemi



Ojo, Aderemi is a Historian, teacher, public speaker, writer, politician, and community organiser. He was trained at the University of Ibadan, where he was also President of the Students Union.

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