Editor's note: A former presidential candidate, Chris Emejuru, writes on the 60th independence anniversary of Nigeria, with a focus on the country's minority groups, noting that they are still trying to find their identity in the country. He can be reached on Twitter via @ChrisEmejuru1.
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October 1st, 2020 marks 60 years of Independence. For our history to remain relevant, we must also remember 50. That is 50 years since the end of the Biafra war. What have we learned? The marginalization of the Igbo people still remains with some still agitating for separation. Indeed the Igbo people have suffered but during the 3 years of civil war, we as a nation, the Hausa, Yoruba, Ikwerre, and every other minority group have felt the pains of a nation still trying to find its identity.
As a young man who lived in America and travelling to different states in Nigeria, I had developed friendships regardless of tribe, ethnicity, or religion. Infact, I learned quickly that those who want to divide us, usually do it for political or economic gain. However, as human beings, we seem to forget that what makes each of us different is our greatest strength. With acceptance comes power. With power comes progress.
"We are a nation of immigrants. Immersed in many languages, ethnicities, tribes, and cultures we coexist in understanding that we are one people, under one flag and that is Nigeria" ( A pledge for the establishment of a sustainable future). We say we must "defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory, so help me God."
That is the allegiance I believe of a greater destiny.
I believe Odumegwu Ojukwu's separation attempt was to give rise to his people. His motive was to establish Biafra. However, at the end of the civil war and after his return from exile, the same man contested for president 3 times under the seal of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. His ambition should give many confidence that indeed Ojukwu himself recognized Nigeria as a nation together and intact.
I, Chris Emejuru, believe in Nigeria. I believe in the people. I believe in our Independence and that its purpose is still yet to be achieved. People are suffering. Lack of inconsistent power (electricity), lack of money to spend, bad roads, there are those who can't afford to pay their hospital expenses, and insecurity (kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry) which plagues every region of our country is still rampant. Politicians promise the world yet deliver you nothing. But there is good news. I have a plan of lifting many Nigerians out of poverty. Creating a better power sector and reducing insecurity that disturbs our homes, schools, and places where we worship. It is a vision I have that must come to pass and in 2023, a person who truly cares about those who are suffering will claim that leadership position. God willing we will get there together. For Nigeria, it will happen. God bless our beloved country.
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