Author:AZIKE STANILAUS CHINEMEREM
“When this day,October 1960 was chosen for our independence, it seemed that we were destined to move with quite dignity to our place on the world stage.recent events have changed the scene beyond recognition so that we find ourselves today being tested to the utmost”
The above are the excerpt of the proud speech rendered by Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa on the day of independence (1st October 1960).His speech pictured a Nation with a positive dream,this dream unfortunately turns to be a hallucination, He dreamt of a Nigeria that moves with quiet dignity to our place on world stage but,it is so painful that uptill now;this Nigeria cannot limp,not to talk of walking to achieve its mentioned anticipated goal.
Joyfully, Nigeria got its independence on a platter of gold(sic)rallies and conferences, unlike its counterparts (some African countries) with much credit going to Engr Herbert Macular, Sir Tafawa Balewa,Hon Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe,Sir Ahmadu Bello,Chief Obafemi Awolowo…(name them).The problem of Nigeria started immediately our progenitors left,the joy of our independence was short lived as the Nigeria civil war broke out,thus contributing greatly in retarding the growth of this seven year old baby(then).The events of that war I won’t like to talk about because, it leaves an indelible mark in the hearts of many Nigerians.
Today,we celebrate the 57th birthday of our nation with no frosting on our cake and no candle which represents light of life to lighten our part.This undoubtedly causes the darkening of our path to development and fulfilment of our dreams. Honestly,we have failed ourselves, most of the blames I apportion to our leaders.They have made a joke of what we attained donkey years ago,they have taunted this baby delivered on the 1st of October 1960.They have starved it for long until it started suffering of malnutrition and they have decided not to let it grow until it’s dead .
Today we celebrate our 57 years of more failures than achievements,failures in protecting the citizens, failures in the education sector,and also a trend of economic,social,political, and religious violence. The citizens today also celebrates 57 years of slavery to their leaders and caretakers; what a bad omen.Today we are celebrating the trend of terrorism and spite from the different tribes against each other.We celebrate the unfortunate insecurities of the citizens, their exposure to threat and fear,this being an outcome of poor security and the leaders eliminating the masses from their priority list.
We celebrate bad roads”the national bureau of statistics (NBS)said 11,363 road accidents were recorded in 2016,bad road having a pint in its contribution). We celebrate epileptic power supply, dilapidated schools cum hospitals, unemployment e.t.c.The rate of unemployment in Nigeria is alarming, “in the year 2012,it was said that the Nigerian population ranges between 165 million-167 million (give or take). Within this large population, an estimation of 11.1 million youths remain unemployed with the rate increasing tremendously yearly;this undoubtedly causes menace in crime.some unemployed youths in a search for greener pasture give in themselves to armed muggings,assaults, burglaries, carjacking, kidnapping, extortion and rapes as the case may be;what a bad omen.
Today we celebrate a Nigeria with an epileptic economy,a Nigeria that have gotten independence while a grater percentage of the masses are still dependent on the streets(name them),a nation where a sitting senator claiming to be representing his people goes home with #20,000,000-#25,000,000(give or take)in every four years;while the minimum wage of an average Nigerian worker is #18,000.
Brothers and sisters,what are we celebrating, is it our achievements or failures? Are we proud of our celebration or are we claiming to be proud to have just attained an additional unfulfilled year in our golden age?In my part of the country, a man of 57 years who is not yet married is called an “okokpolo” and I will like to borrow that word on behalf of Nigeria,a nation which has left its priorities to chase shadows. However,hope is not lost,age is never a barrier to achieve great things,we can still stand firm to actualize the dream of the founding fathers of Nigeria.Truly,we are crippled but we are never hopeless to walk again.
It is disheartening,but irrespective of that,I wish a Happy Independence anniversary to my dear nation.
©AZIKE STANILAUS CHINEMEREM