By Umar Yunusa
Nigeria: a country that began from protectorate to province and to region, where colonialists invaded our soil in disguise of self-emancipation, as if we were on the and road to freedom of our own nation-state. It was also laden with a pretence to take us through the journey of civilization.
At last, after decades of torturing slavery and exploitation, Nigeria got her independence on October 1, 1960. On this date, Nigeria witnessed a huge celebration of independence with the hoisting of our flag, parades and cultural events across the country. Independence Day is one of the most significant days in Nigeria’s history that reminds us of the brave fights of our past heroes.
It hurts to see people patriotically celebrating their lengthy and painful years of experience. Where is Leah Shaibu and other captives? I know they’ll be out of this celebration. To mention them won’t make any meaning even as we celebrate the labour of our heroes past.
People on Independence Day wear their green-white-green clothes. Some others fly kites which symbolises the free spirit of Nigeria. The White Eagle in Nigeria is also an important symbol of our self-actualization.
Again, this year, several people attended the ceremony in Abuja. And some other people watched all the activities on TV right in their homes. There are many Nigerians who don’t see the need to be happy that Nigeria is celebrating 61 years of self-rule. To this category of people, Nigeria is still crawling.
The spirit of patriotism and enthusiasm is renewed on this special day. Indeed we are 61, but we are living in the day-night. The giant of Africa celebrates another year of being a country from colonialists, a country that has been good to other neighbouring countries especially in funding them. In all these, the iconic deeds and feats of Sir Tafawa Balewa, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Mallam Aminu Kano, among others, still reflect in our country. The key roles played by those iconic legends have sharpened our society to a large extent.
Nigeria celebrates its 61 years of being a country, where the state of the economy still remains where it was left by our legends six decades ago. Today, hunger is ravaging many Nigerians. Poverty rate is getting higher. Salaries and wages have become meaningless.
Where are our natural resources? The N30, 000 minimum wages is yet to be implemented by many states since its approval about a year ago.
I have read a lot of Abraham Lincoln’s books. An excerpt from one of them says “when the people fear the government, there is tyranny, when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” This quote seems not to be happening in Nigeria especially when citizens fundamental human rights are being abused. Therefore to correct the damage done by previous and current administration, there is every need for governments to implement their political manifestoes, such as constructing roads, getting the masses employed. Every social amenity needs to be comprehensively looked into.
Income earners also need to pay appropriate taxes, among others so that the society can move forward. Running a country is like a social contract.
I hereby call on the president and all state governors to help in restoring Nigeria’s lost glory.
•Yunusa, a final year student of Mass Communication at IBB University Lapai, Niger State, is the President of IBBU-UCJ.