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On air: Should Nigerians be proud of what they've achieved in the last 50 years?

Krupa Thakrar Padhy Krupa Thakrar Padhy | 10:20 UK time, Friday, 1 October 2010

This topic was discussed on World Have Your Say on 1 October 2010. Listen to the programme.

Energy powerhouse or corruption capital? Population overload or demographic advantage? Hungry giant or lazy dwarf? There are many ways to look at Nigeria as it turns 50 today, and lots of you on our Facebook page as well as Twitter, have asked to talk about them.

Awwal in Minna wrote on the WHYS Facebook wall,

'At 50,we still have that hatred,distrust and ethno-regional challenges against each other when it comes to political challenges!'

And she's not the only one struggling to celebrate as this Nigerian author writes
'Nigeria's economy and politics at this time paint a somewhat worrisome picture....Health care has been so neglected that almost every Nigerian politician travels abroad to seek medical help... So, as we celebrate 50 years of independence, we are humbled by our political, economic and social challenges. We are humbled by our inability in the last 50 years to truly have someone we can all agree was a visionary and good national leader.'

But there is reason to be optimistic. Nigerian culture for one, continues to thrive. Artists against the struggle now have competition from popular culture. Hollywood eat your heart out, Nollywood's on fire.

'(Nigeria's) fast-growing African film industry, known as Nollywood, has become the third most important non-oil export sector and the second largest employer after agriculture, according to the World Bank.'

Blogger Sylva Nze Ifedigbo believes that Nigerians simply need to be 'up the optimism',

'Someone once said that the favourite pastime of Nigerians is self condemnation but that it would take you as a foreigner joining them in it to realise that in spite of all negativity, Nigerians care for their country and still hope strongly that one day it will realize its potentials'

Dele Oye, President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce isn't one for self-pity. He stresses what he calls Nigeria's achievements ; ranked fourth in peace-keeping in the world and a vibrant telecommunication sector.

But Professor Kabiru Mato of the University of Abuja worries that the aspirations of independence now lag too far behind Nigerian reality.

Japheth agrees,

'Happy birthday Nigeria as I look forward to celebrating your 60th birthday in style.'


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