61 years ago, our founding fathers laid out a vision, that the many nations and ethnicities, North and South of the Niger, 300 languages or more, differing tribes, and religions, would by the grace of God become one Nation. That their diverse strengths and gifts would coalesce into a formidable economic and regional force. And that these united nations may become the largest aggregation of black people on earth. A beacon of hope to all peoples of African descent, long bruised by the afflictions of slavery and colonial exploitation. Nigeria will be the reaffirmation of their dignity and a tonic to their spirits.
The Lord blessed the vision and prospered the land with richness in oil, in gas, in minerals of every hue. In fruit trees, in palm trees, in crops of every kind, in savannahs and forests, arable land, seas, rivers and the riches embedded in them.
That vision of our forebears inheres in the words of our National Motto: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.
Through the years, we worked that vision, through thick and thin. From subjection to colonial monarchy, to sovereign republic, to civil rule to military rule. We fought a bitter war amongst brothers that cost millions of lives, and though we still wear the deep scars of those wounds, the Lord preserved the Republic.
We have since become the most educated and most entrepreneurial nation in Africa. 10 of our 36 States have larger economies than at least 15 African countries. From our ranks, we have the most accomplished men and women, in the arts, the sciences, in sports, in technology and commerce.
But today, yet again, our path has been dogged by conflict; religious and ethnic, economic challenges, insurgencies and banditry, much darkness, many valleys and many thorns. And so many ask, “can the vision of the nation united, the nation peaceful, the nation righteous and the nation prosperous yet abide?
But the vision is not destroyed because of the many trials and tribulations, nor is the vision denied by the days when the fig tree does not blossom, or when there is no fruit on the vines; nor is the vision nullified when the labor of the olive fails, neither is the vision defeated because the flock is cut off from the fold, leaving no herd in the stalls.
The Lord God, our strength, He will yet make our feet like the feet of the deer, and we, who had been in the valley, He will make us walk on our high hills (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
Neither hailstones nor hellfire can destroy the vision because the Creator of the universe is the visioner, the One who gave the vision is the Lord of dreams. And indeed even after we have suffered for a while, this God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, will perfect, establish, strengthen and settle us. (1 Peter 5:10)
Our current trials cannot draw the curtains on our story, because the vision is for an appointed time. Our today is not our tomorrow because the vision is for an appointed time.
This country is greater than the sum of its parts and the sum of its mistakes, and because the God we serve is greater than the sum of our collective hopes and imagination, our nation will surmount our current travails and emerge in victory.
(Habakkuk 2:3) For indeed the vision is yet for an appointed time; though it tarries. But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. We will wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
May the Lord prosper this land, and its peoples forever, Amen. Congratulations to CAN at 45 and happy anniversary Nigeria at 61. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. God bless you all
* OSINBAJO IS THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA