By Ikeddy ISIGUZO

AT 60, there is no shortage of words to describe Nigeria and her journeys since independence. If you were to describe Nigeria in 60 words to represent the vales and vaults of her journeys what would they be? How would you justify your choices if you are to put some descriptions behind the words?

Nigeria’s journeys have been marked by ups and downs, mostly unexpected. Some have been through tougher circumstances. When we make progress, there are no clarities about how we operated. We just celebrate. Things are worse when we fail.

Recriminations take over. There are usually no room to learn any lessons. We fought an expensive civil war. We learnt nothing from it.

Major disagreements still centre on whether Nigeria is heading anywhere or nowhere – forward, backwards, unmoving – in her 60 years. Essays on these could form tomes that nobody would read, considering their volumes and our seeming aversion to read too much.

What follow are 60 words that capture Nigeria today. The boldened words approximate what Nigeria was in 1960 when the British granted her independence. The word, in some cases words, that follow each boldened word captures or capture the Nigeria that ensured a little after independence. We are living with worsening versions of what Ahmadu Bello, Nnamdi Azikiwe, and Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the three regional leaders of Nigeria, received at independence.

Nigeria at 60 in 60 words –

Ambitious

Abbreviated

Absent

Bold

Blurred

Charming

Charred  

Cheated

Daring

Dreamy

Enthusiastic

Ennui

Focused

Faltering

Floating

Great

Grated

Hilarious

Halting

Ingenious

Indigenous

Jetsam

Jaded

Ken

Kittle

Listed

Listing

Momentous

Momentary

Notable

Numb

Opulent

Opaque

Pliant

Peripatetic

Qualitative

Quantitative

Queasy

Ready

Raided

Strong

Sad

Sliding

Together

Tilting

Uncut

Unbonded

Vim

Verdant

Vacuous

Vexed

Weighted

Whimsical

Withering

Xenophobic  

Xenogeneic

Yeasty

Yattering

Zesty

Zoophilous

Do you agree with these words as they apply to Nigeria? Do you disagree? Would you rather fix other words in their places? What would those words be? How would you justify them?

The complexities that we have made out of Nigeria in 60 years have produced all sorts of excuses for where Nigeria is and why she cannot go anywhere if she is not re-structured. The debates have assumed more cacophonies with the years.

Would they suddenly grab the garb of a 60-year-old matched with the supposed wisdom that age bestows? Would we spend another 60 years grappling for meaning out of Nigeria? What gain is there in adapting pendulous motions as the appropriate movements for Nigeria?

More important than whether we celebrate today or not is what becomes of our tomorrows. Too much has been left to chance and luck that Nigeria is exhausting her warehouse of the two items.

We need more than circumstances to build a nation where no man is oppressed as our first national anthem envisioned. The abridgement of that vision could have been responsible for a nation where everyone is oppressed – and everyone complains.  

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