How Great Is Nigeria! By Igbokwe Kingsley Chukwudi
The influence which a nation exerts, the respect which it enjoys, and the prestige accorded to it on the world scene, depend on two important factors: the size of its wealth and the calibre of its leadership.
— Obafemi Awolowo
The Federal Republic of Nigeria is in West Africa on the Gulf of Guinea and has a total area of 923, 768 square kilometres. It shares land border with the Republic of Benin in the west, Niger and Chad in the north, and Cameroon in the east. Nigeria has 36 states and a Federal Capital Territory in Abuja. The country gained its independence from Britain in 1960 and the independence culminated in a full status republic in 1963. It is multi-cultural and ethnic diversified with some 250 ethnic groups and over 520 spoken languages. However, the nation has been plagued with some challenges that seem to undermine its existence and unity like Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group aligned with al-Qaeda, which built up its presence in the Northern region of the country with harsh implementation of Islamic law and has caused estimated deaths of 100,000 persons and two million displaced persons; militancy in the Southern part of the country that has wreaked havoc in the oil industry in pipeline vandalism and untold kidnaps which prompted the government to set up an Amnesty Programme in 2009 by former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and the creation of Niger Delta Development Commission in 2000 by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo; the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu agitating for the independence of Biafra from Nigeria, etc. Despite these challenges, Nigeria has been able to maintain democracy for 18 years and since her independence, the nation with its diversity in culture, language, tradition etc. has proved among comity of nations to be indeed great. Therefore, in the words of Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, “The greatness comes not when things go always good for you. But the greatness comes when you are really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes. Because only if you’ve been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.” Hereunder are some of the points that show how great Nigeria is: