Nigeria turns 60 today! Sixty years of flag independence from British colonial rule that spanned centuries. When the Union Jack was lowered in Lagos on the first of October 1960 most us were not here yet as Nigerians or members of the global community. 60 years on we are still groping in the dark searching for solutions for our daily nationhood challenges. Nigeria was destined to be great but we all know how our leaders had jeopardized this potential for greatness on the altar of petty politics, mind-boggling graft, incompetence and visionlessness.
Events lined up to mark this national milestone are scheduled to last one whole year according to the voluble Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed. While critics had lampooned the government’s plan of a line up of activities to celebrate the 60th Independence Anniversary for one year the Information Minister maintained that it was worth the while and efforts.
The Diamond Jubilee came at a critical time of global health challenge represented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the anniversary is said to be low-keyed given the miserable situation in the country coupled with Corona Mohammed declared that his principal offered a new beginning!
In certain cultures Afrikana, nay Nigeriana, the age of 60 is seen as the beginning of a new cycle of life, and is usually marked with pomp and pageantry. But in the life of a nation-state attainment of sixty years of independence ought to be measured by what is on the ground in terms of socio-economic and political development.
Today, many Nigerians are not only despondent but afraid of what tomorrow might bring. Since yesterday was horrible tomorrow is pregnant with more horror!
What are we pretending to be celebrating for Christ’s sake? Decades of Babangidaism, ‘Abacharized’ state terrorism or Buharism? Coups and counter-coups with one leading to the Biafran pogrom of the late sixties? Celebrating a country with so great a potential, one blessed with enormous human and natural resources but whose vacuous and diffident leadership had criminally betrayed for decades?
What are we celebrating? Years of Fulani herdsmen atrocities or the massacre of unarmed IPOB members in the south-east? Celebrating the recent extra-judicial execution of Gana, the repentant notorious criminal in Benue State whereas the unrepentant ones like Abubakar Shekau remain at large?
Celebrating the emergence of new corrupt members of the rich and powerful among the poverty-stricken Nigerians? Celebrating years of impunity in the system? Or judicial and legislative emasculation?
What are we celebrating? 60 years of nationhood crises and crimes? Sixty odd years of national division, confusion and presidential nepotism and sectionalism? 60 years of celebrated cases of rape, terrorism and cronyism? 60 years of lack of power, pipe-borne water and refineries? Celebrating the unilateral closure of our land borders with our regional neighbours?
Celebrating the adamant refusal of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to relieve the incompetent Service Chiefs of their security duties following their failure to arrest the galloping insecurity across the federation?
Celebrating the hyper-inflation in the economic system? Or Coronavirus pandemic that had exposed our medical infrastructural deficit? Celebrating the billions of Dollars earmarked by the giddy Buhari regime for a rail project linking the northern Nigeria to Niger Republic? Or the recent insensitive hike in the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit (fuel) and electricity?
Celebrating sixty eventful years of collosal waste and monumental corruption? Or the failure of Buharism to defeat Boko Haram, provide employment or improve the economic condition?
Celebrating the organized looting of NDDC funds? Or Magu-gate or Malami-gate? Celebrating electoral scams and violence? Or the triumph of godfatherism in Lagos politics?
What are we celebrating hypocritically? Celebrating our ‘award’ as the global poverty capital or a people terrorised? Or the lamentable failure of the state to secure lives and properties of Nigerians? What the hell are they celebrating, President Buhari, Minister Mohammed and co?
The reality here is that we have nothing to showcase worth celebrating attaining sixty years of flag independence. No Nigerian should be proud of our national developmental trajectory. Perhaps the Buhari mob could go ahead and celebrate their collective failure to make Nigeria work for Nigerians.
As patriotic discerning Nigerians we have looked around and failed to understand what we should be feting in this otherwise auspicious occasion! Celebrating our high external indebtedness or the exploits of terrorists up north? Celebrating our collective loss of innocence or national glory as the so-called giant of Africa? What is there, folks, that calls for rolling out of the drums decked in green and white colours?
For all intents and purposes we hold that we have got nothing to celebrate other than decades of blood and tears and sorrow. We wish Nigerians sixty uneasy unhappy stay as Nigerians under a nation disfigured by corruption and power abuse.
AUTHOR: SOC Okenwa…
Articles published in our Graffiti section are strictly the opinion of the writers and do not represent the views of Ripples Nigeria or its editorial stand.
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