Today, 9th August 2021, Singapore is celebrating its 56th Independence. It became an independent sovereign nation in 1965 after it was expelled from Malaysia. At the time the sovereignty of Singapore was declared in 1965, the country has less prospect of succeeding unlike Nigeria whom during that time was projected to be the pride of Africa. From that time to date, Singapore has become a developed nation while Nigeria remains underdeveloped and battling with poverty.
Lord Fredrick Lugard (Image: Charlotte E. Howard/National Portrait Gallery, UK)
Nigerians have always blamed Nigeria's lack of development on British colonialism, and often pick out the first Governor-General of Nigeria, Lord Fredrick Lugard as the man to blame. Lugard championed the amalgamation of the protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria into the British colony of Nigeria in 1914. Many claim that if Lugard had not amalgamated the protectorates and the British colonized the nation, the fortunes of the nation would have been better today. But this excuse cannot be justified, Nigeria is not the only nation that was ever colonized. The blaming of Lugard should stop and the must learn from Singapore.
Singapore, from a third world to a first world nation (Image: Business Insider)
Lee Kuan Yew, he led Singapore from 1965 to 2001 and oversaw the transformation of Singapore into a develop nation (Image: The Guardian Nigeria)
Singapore, like Nigeria, began almost at the same time. In fact, it became a British possession much earlier than Nigeria, in 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles of the British Empire founded Singapore as a trading port for the British. The area would later be conquered and made a colonial possession of the British crown. Like with Nigeria, the British were not interested in developing Singapore but to exploit its resources for the benefit of the United Kingdom. The exploitation continues up until the British colonialists were replaced by another brutish overload, the Empire of Japan who captured Singapore from the British in 1942 and ruled it up until their defeat during WWII in 1945. Then again, Singapore was taken over by the British who ruled until 1959 when they got independence.
President Muhammadu Buhari. He is the 15th government in Nigerian since 1960, yet Nigeria is far from attaining progress(Image: Premium Times Nigeria)
After independence, Singapore became part of Malaysia but the Malaysian parliament expelled it in 1965. From 1965 to date, Singapore was able to transform itself from a third world nation to a first world country, surpassing Nigeria whom at 1965 was at par with Singapore. Unlike Nigeria, Singapore has no mineral resources, but it has capable leadership which has transformed the country into one of the best in the world today. Nigeria was blessed with mineral resources but plague with bad governance. From Singapore, Nigerians would realized that capable and patriotic leadership is what leads to progress and development.
An arial view of Abuja, Nigeria's capital city. Nigeria was projected to be the most prosperous black nation in the 1960s, but today, it is ranked as one of the poorest in the world (Image: The Guardian Nigeria)
Instead of blaming the British and Japanese colonialists, or even the Malaysian governments; the independent government of Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew focused instead on developing Singapore. Between 1965 and 1990, Singapore has emerged as one of the developing countries in the world, one of the four Asian Tigers, including South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Today, it is a developed nation with a GDP better and comparable to that of the UK and the United States
Instead of rising up and demanding the government to initiate developmental policies, sentiments has blinded the people to resort to blaming one another and even the colonial masters who left since 1960! Some blame Lugard who resigned in his position as Governor-General of Nigeria in 1924. Like Nigeria, Singapore too has a demography as diverse as Nigeria: although it consists dominantly of Chinese, there are significant number of Malays and Indians.
Nigeria got her independence from Britain almost at the same time as Singapore, 60 years later, Nigeria is still underdeveloped and Singapore is a first world country (Image: Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria first Prime Minister posing with Princess of Great Britain © TRT World)
There are also reasonable percentage of Buddhist(30%), Atheists(20%), Christians(28%) and Muslims(15%) in Singapore; they are united and strive to achieve greatness together and have succeeded in transforming their nation into a one to envy by their peers, including Nigeria who was its mate or even better than in the 1960s. This attitude of the citizens of Singapore is what Nigerians should emulate, and focus and patriotic determination of Singaporean government should be also be emulated by Nigerian leaders.
The blame game must stop. Let Nigerians stop blaming Lord Lugard and the British for their misfortunes and begin to work toward progress. Nigerians must learn to coexists, the country is blessed with resources that if the people and government would keep parochial sentiments aside and attitude of blaming offers for their failures and get to work, Nigeria in the nearest future will be on the party to greatness like Singapore. Happy Independence to Singapore at 55.
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