Nigeria is celebrating her 61 years of nationhood today. Our freedom, our sovereignty, our right to live together as a people.
I sometimes wonder what October 1st really connotes to many Nigerians. Just think about it, in a country like the United States, July 4th, its own birth as a Nation, is treated with awe, hilarious, and nostalgia.
The celebrations start long before the day itself and culminating in an exciting and emotional display of American patriotism. Well, what is relevant in this allusion is that the Americans celebrate their birth with pomp and pageantry, with fireworks, with solidarity and patriotism as they watch their fireworks. For them, July 4, symbolizes more than a celebration, it is a reminder of the wars they have fought to become a united nation of independent people. It is about a right to life and development. It is about nation-building and ensuring that the rights of the smallest and most insignificant person in America is guarded and that every American can hold his head high. It is about ethical values and nationalistic goals and not the parochial sentimentality, ethnicity, or nepotism as we have in our clime.
Every American, including children of migrants born there become Americans, albeit second-generation immigrants, feel a strong burden to defend America’s honour. They wave their national flag and country colours proudly and are never ashamed to show their passports anywhere.
When elected into public office, they strive regardless of human frailty and the lure of mammon to do the best for the greatest number of people. They are concerned about what records they leave behind, and for those who may find themselves tempted to disgrace their office, they resign before it becomes too murky. An American will rather sacrifice himself than bring dishonor to his country.
Oh- oh-,Am I not going off the tangent?
So, as we clock 61 years of Independence, I find myself asking some salient questions. Are we as Nigerians still proud of our green and white colours? How many Nigerians really want to remain in their own country? Will I ever witness a Nigerian in government choose to resign when his credibility has become wane or questionable? When will the government officials jettison the lying statistics alone and face the reality that stares us in the face in every nook and cranny of the country- hunger, and poverty, insecurity, banditry, humongous corruption that now walk on two legs? When will our leaders stop defending crazy insurgency and banditry all in the face of ethnicity and not nationalistic? Can you just imagine somebody saying we should continue like this? That Nigeria has never had it so good until now? That this is the best for us as a nation? Are we going to see the day when our leaders will be willing to sacrifice their comfort to make sure that the most insignificant citizen is able to belong to society? When are we going to witness an uninterrupted power supply of electricity despite the privatization of the sector? Is water supply a mirage for Nigerians in the 21st Century? What of our bad road networks in the hinterlands and the ubiquitous unemployment of school leavers in the nation? When are we going to be really free from harassment when we blare our minds on the inadequacies of our leaders for us to move forward as a nation after 61 years of breaking ‘loose’ from colonial tutelage? When will the press as the watchdog of the government and the defender of the poor masses be allowed to do their thankless job without breaking their heads and their cameras and locking them up just because of unbiased stories to put the government on its toes or curtail its excesses?
Let me also ask, when will the filthy lucre and ill-gotten wealth cease to be the parameters of a ‘good’ man or a ‘kind’ woman? When will my country return to those hey-days when the creed was ‘though tribe and tongue may differ in brotherhood we stand? When are we as Nigerians begin to visit our loved ones in our towns and villages without the fear of being kidnapped for ransom or killed after paying a ransom? When will our farmers be allowed to go back to the farm to give us abundant and cheaper foodstuff instead of being afraid to go to the farm and being mutilated on the farmland?
When will our universities and hospitals not be shut indefinitely because of non-payment of salaries and allowances to the lecturers and our Doctors? When will the Doctors’ mass exodus to other countries for greener pasture because of the shabby treatment they are greeted within their fatherland stop?
Nonetheless, kudos to those Nigerians who, despite the rotten environment, still have their heads up, contributing their genuine quotas in education, technical, religious, and economic sectors without minding the selfish ones in our midst. Your labour of love to your country shall be rewarded here on earth and posterity will write your names in gold. Please fire on unabated.
Nigeria should celebrate the 61 years anniversary of our nationhood with the mind of not only the riding in the motorcade at the stadia alone, or the paraphernalia of groups match –past and 61 gun salute alone, but with the mind of not being satisfied with the way things are at present. We should celebrate with the conscious mind of righting the wrongs and leaving a good legacy for generations yet unborn.
The Interviews Nigeria wishes Nigeria a Happy Celebration. Long live Nigeria., long live Nigerians. God Bless Nigeria. Bravo.