Nigeria’s Independence Day celebrations have been declining due to economic challenges, with many citizens feeling disillusioned with the country’s progress in six decades. The largest economy has been in a free fall since the Muhammadu Buhari administration, with youth unemployment, inflation, and debt at all-time highs. Over 60% of the population lives in “multidimensional poverty,” and electricity remains poor. Bola Tinubu, who came to office in a disputed election, implemented early reforms that brought untold hardship but has scaled back some of them.
Augustine Okofu, a 14-year-old schoolboy in Osisa, recalls rallying with the people of his township for days when the Union Jack was replaced by Nigeria’s green-white-green flag. He later fought for federal troops against the secessionist nation of Biafra during the 1967 war. However, the day now holds little meaning to him. These feelings of disenchantment stem from the belief that the country should be far more developed.
Nigeria’s independence from colonial rule in 1960 has not been as successful as expected, with people struggling with numerous issues and moving backwards. Experts believe that the state of the economy and lingering ethnic tensions, exacerbated by political differences during the last election cycle, have contributed to the muted commemorations of the independence anniversary.