Buhari’s 4th Independence Day celebration and the groaning of Nigerian people
Going down memory lane, the flag of Nigeria between 1914 and 1960—was a British blue ensign with a green Star of David surrounding a Tudor Crown (later changed to a St Edward’s Crown in 1953) with the white word “Nigeria” under it on a red disc. It was adopted by the Colony and protectorate of Nigeria—following the amalgamation of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate. But on the 1st of October, 1960, something epochal happened. How do I mean?
At midnight on the 30th of September, 1960, Omatsola was the radio commentator—from the Race Course in Lagos—who announced to Nigeria and the whole world that “Nigeria is a free, sovereign nation,” graphically unfolding the ceremony of the lowering of the British Union Jack flag and the hoisting (for the first time) of the Nigeria flag of Green, White, Green perpendicular section. The Nigerian National Anthem (Nigeria We Hail Thee), played by a Massed Band, was sung also for the first time.On a Friday, the 1st of October, 1960, Nigeria became a sovereign nation and we were 35,000,000 million people! Three years after, we gladly became a Republic.
Every Nigerian alive at the time I am x-raying was full of hope.The whole world saw Nigeria as the giant of Africa. And we were not doing badly economically, but over the years, I have come to conclude that the Britishleft our shores too early. They should have waited for forty (40) years more before leaving for their land, because the mantle of leadership we were given on the 1st of October, 1960 has succeeded in impoverishingmost Nigerians, enriching a few ruling class though. Till today, we do not understand a hoot what leadership is all about.And because we do not know the purpose of leadership, we have been abusing it for decades.
For the umpteenth time, in fifty-eight (58) years, what have we done with the mantle of leadership that we collected from the British Governor—General of Nigeria, Sir James Robertson?Tafawa Balewa said and I quote: “I promise you, we shall not fail for want of determination. And we come to this task better-equipped than many.” Maybe the generation of Sir Tafawa Balewa was well-equipped for leadership, but the current crop of leaders isobviously and definitely ill-equipped for leadership. The major task of leaders is creation of happiness for the people, but from Kaduna to Lagos, from Kogi to Sokoto, and from Adamawa to Oyo, who amongst them is creating happiness for his people? When someone becomes a leader in Nigeria, he or she becomes larger than life and bigger than everyone.
Also, Tafawa Balewa said and I quote verbatim: “…and Nigeria is now indeed an independent sovereign nation.”Nigeria is free, but are Nigerians free? Also, how free is the common man in Nigeria? Is the common man free economically? Is he free to become who he aspires to become without knowing anyone in the corridors of power? Does he truly enjoy freedom of worship and speech? How secured is he in a nation that we call sovereign? Once again, of what importance is a nation that is free when her citizens are not truly free?
The first Prime Minister of Nigeria also did say: “At the time when our constitutional development entered upon its final phase, the emphasis was largely upon self-government. We, the elected representative of the people of Nigeria, concentrated on proving that we were fully capable of managing our own affairs both internally and externally…” Fifty-eight years after, can we truly say that we are capable of managing our own affairs internally, let alone externally? Are Nigerians being daily led as people are being led in saner climes? Until the common man is opportune to travel out of Nigeria, he cannot know that he is not being led as a human being.
Furthermore, Nigeria is probably the only nation where an election would be rigged todayand a few days after, those who benefited from it would go to either church or mosque for thanksgiving. Where are values like honesty, integrity, good neighborliness, religious tolerance… that once defined our society?Whatever happened to being our brother’s keeper?Right now, Jos, Plateau State is boiling. Those in leadership of Plateau State and Nigeria in general clearly do not have an enduringanswer to the ongoing crisis spreading throughthe length and breadth of our land.
The 58th Independence Day celebration speech would be given today and hopes that would soon be dashed would be intentionally raised.For about seven (7) years, I was always eagerly awaiting—Independence Day celebration speech. I later stopped, because I have seen that the arrow-head of each administration only comes to tell us what they arenot committed to a hoot. President Buhari will be addressing Nigerians today for the 3rdtime since he became the C-in-C and flowery and fancy words are going to be used as usual. He is going to tell us about too far many great things his administration has done and is doing. The only problem is that the common man isn’t feeling all they are doing and have done on paper. This is what happens in every administration.
Lastly, what late Sir Tafawa Balewa said on the 1st of October, 1960 is quite different from what the common man is experiencing today.The common man daily groans. People in the corridors of power do notexperience power-outage, but the common man daily romances it. Pot-holes are everywhere in Nigeria and they make the common man dailygroan in pains. The ruling-class has an access to the kind of money that is shrouded in secrecy, but the common man day by daylives on less than two (dollars).Nigeria is rich, but the common man is wallowing in abject poverty!