The celebration of our 62nd Independence anniversary is a huge slap on the face of our founding fathers.
Like other Nigerian Youth, I have mixed feelings about whether to dance in celebration of Nigeria’s 62nd independence anniversary or go sober with a special tahajud invoking the name of God to help her revive her old glory. As a typical Ìgbómìnà lady, an inward perusal of the realities of Nigeria still forces me to glorify God’s name for Nigeria amidst my worries and fears.
The celebration of our 62nd Independence anniversary is a huge slap on the face of our founding fathers. Has anyone ever wondered if Anthony Enahoro, Ahmadu Bello, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, and Herbert Macaulay would be proud of the current state of their 62-year-old independent Nigeria? Would they be able to recognize the same Nigeria that they toiled day and night to get? How will Funmilola Ransom Kuti, Magaret Ekpo, and Gambo Sawaba feel about the prevailing status of women in Nigeria?
After showcasing our outstanding talents and strides. How do we explain to our heroes that our beloved Nigeria is at an all-time high division in 2022? How do we delineate the daily kidnappings and bloodshed we witness across Nigeria? How do we explain the 50% increase in deaths (according to….)? How should we express the closure of university classrooms for over 200 days because of the inability of our teachers and government to reach an agreement to revive our collapsing educational sector? What do we say to Nnamdi Azikiwe that our naira has no worth in comparison with dollars? Who will tell Sir Obafemi Awolowo that law students now resort to frying puff puff on the streets of Nigeria due to unemployment? How do we inform Tafawa Balewa that politicians have abandoned his dream of service and replaced it with motivations of self-aggrandizement and selfish interest? How do I explain to Madam Funmilola Ransom Kuti that even after decades after the Abeokuta women‘s revolt of 1947, women still face daily discrimination and persecution by a stronger patriarchal Nigeria? Who will tell Aminu Kano that four major regional political parties merged to give Nigeria the worse governance ever experienced in her history?
Can you imagine the disappointment that our founding heroes would face?
This is not how a genuinely mature 62-year-old mother should carry on. To justify any claim of independence, Nigerians must first ascertain the basis upon which they lay claim to sovereignty. On the flip side, Nigeria is not unredeemable.
Well, Awolowo would smile at the news of having his own Ìjẹ̀bú-born Tobi Amusan breaking a WTF hurdle record. Nnamdi Azikiwe would be glad to see the giant strides of young Nigerians in the entertainment industry. Haja Gambo Sawaba would be delighted to see the likes of Amina Mahmud high up in the United Nations; she would also be glad to see Aisha Yesufu, Oby Ezekwesili, and other women consistently standing for the rights of Nigerians. These men and women of Valor who fought fiercely for the independence that we celebrate today would be proud of the tenacity of Nigerians despite all odds.
There is much hope for us as a nation. Look around and tell me what you see.
I see a country with great expectations, where trust in government is one of the lowest in the world. I see a nation where the next generation has its promise, with arts and technology becoming global standards. I see the undaunted will of the sorosoke generation. I see young Nigerians fighting and toiling hard to disown the weak bequeathing of the older generation. We are raising our fists against religious disorientation, political servitude, economic weakness, and injustice—we dreamers are taking national pride in the tremendous national values of our founding fathers. I see the tenacity and resilience of Nigerians who have decided to own their country despite its repeated embattlement by outlaws. These Nigerians include the farmers and locals trapped in the enclaves of terrorists and bandits, the repeatedly hounded school children, the Nigerians who have continued to speak up against bad governance despite persecution, the disillusioned women and children in IDP camps, the soldiers in the trenches of war, and police officers sacrificing their lives on the altar of parochial leadership; and the forlorn Nigerians who everyday hope in God that this too shall pass away.
On the occasion of our 62nd anniversary, I beseech every Nigerian to look back at the sacrifice of our heroes. The duty to salvage Nigeria is hinged mainly on character, and every Nigerian must take responsibility to be committed to essential moral obligations. We must take advantage of the coming 2023 election to change the course of our history for good. This can only happen if we rid ourselves of greed and avarice that have become embedded in us as a people. We must accept that we all are complicit in this degeneration that we find ourselves in.
This is the meaning of being truly independent.
God Bless Nigeria!
Titilope is an active Nigerian citizen