HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NIGERIA!

What’s this whiff I smell? So pleasant I gasp for more. Perhaps an apothecary has broken his alabaster box of perfume and squirted his product on nation Nigeria!

And what’s this joy that fills the air? So contagious no one can resist. Perhaps a chemist has sprayed laughing gas on nation Nigeria!

From across the Atlantic I hear drum beats. Energetic drummers thump irresistibly. They call the dance to break forth. Steps tap in rhythmic response to their beats. The drummers’ beats rise and keep rising. They’re interjected sporadically with spasms of silence. They call the dance to break forth, saying, “Dance Nigeria, for the dance has just begun.”

I pray for you Nigeria – the giant and pride of Africa – as you build your democracy. Fifty-four years is not a joke. You have survived many storms and have remained strong. You have been mired in the manacles of injustice and seared in the flames of oppression.

You have endured pain. You have been raped by randy leaders who pretended to love you. All over you are scars from past, hurting, “love” relationships into which you were blindly wooed. Intolerable pains have caused your heart to skip. Deep wounds have made your heart droop.

But you are like a larva that longs to transform to a beautiful butterfly. Your destiny is not in the cocoon, Nigeria; no, not at all.

You were configured to conquer.

You were coded to cruise.

You were designed to soar like an eagle, not to quack along with turkeys.

Now, let the past fifty-four years be the period which you sowed precious seeds, seeds that would transform you from country Nigeria to nation Nigeria. Many of your citizens have laid down their lives so you could rise. The civil war was a price you paid for your greatness. You have learnt from your past mistakes.

Nigeria, today you are wiser.

Bigger.

Better.

Stronger.

As we celebrate your 54th birthday today, you stand at the threshold of destiny. You’re inching towards the fulfillment of your dreams. You are at the vintage of a new dawn, a new beginning. Old things are passing away. So dry your tears, Nigeria. Weep no more. God – your God – is in your midst. And He is bringing you out of the rubble of the past years into the newness of the future.

Weep no more, Nigeria.

From Sokoto to Lagos, from Borno to Calabar, we speak peace within your walls, and prosperity within your gates. This is your time. This is your finest hour. Rise Nigeria, take your place. Corrupt leaders will no longer rule you. Your God will give you leaders after His own heart. Leaders who will lay you in lush green pastures, and still you beside quiet waters.

Your economy is improving. Your currency will rise again in value. The power sector is already changing. All your energy needs will be met. In twenty years or less, you will be among the top democracies in the world. It’s a tall dream. But, yes YOU can!

Your electoral processes are improving. Your elections will be transparent. The conduct of your polls will help secure your democratic destiny.

This is my prayer for you, Nigeria – God’s own country!

I now know clearly that this whiff I smell is not from the apothecary’s perfume box. Neither does the chortle result from the spraying effect of a chemist’s laughing gas. No. Not at all.

This whiff is the fragrance of an emerging new Nigeria; a whiff that eclipses the repugnant odour of the old Nigeria. And this laughter is the uncapped exuberance of Nigerians who, at present, stand at the threshold of destiny, at the border of Biblical Canaan, ready to cross into her promised inheritance.

So, let’s click glasses and deploy cutlery.

Today.

Let’s sing with grace and glee.

Let’s say with patriotic candor: Happy birthday, Nigeria!

– Written by Bryce Edem; @BryceEdem; bryce.edem@gmail.com;

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