Nigeria this week marks yet another independence anniversary, making it 63 years the country gained freedom from Britain that lasted for several decades. In the past, the independence anniversary celebration was a big occasion, especially for Primary and Secondary School students, and the teachers, who savour it all with activities usually lined up for the special occasion. That such celebrations with all its fanfare suddenly disappeared into thin air, raises the question whether we (the people) are truly free from the shackles of colonialism?
Many Nigerians believed that the people may have been liberated from the domination of British hegemony, but are currently going through what they call ”internal slavery”, looking at what is going on in the country today. Agreed that the military, for 63 years the country gained independence, ruled for the greater number of years, but what is shocking is that the civilian government that took over since 1999 democratic order was restored, has also caused more harm than good in the polity with the majority of Nigerians living below the poverty line, as statistics would reveal. The people at present are caught in between military and civil rule.
That is what it is because people’s right and freedom, even the rule of law, on daily basis are flagrantly abused and disrespected by those in authority. Pointedly, justice is for those who can purchase it! From the look of things, in Nigeria, every sector of our national lives calls for emergency. On the political scene, election results are being fiercely contested. Those who won elections are being supplanted and those who lost are gradually being installed.
The Tribunal Judgement on Presidential Election is far from over as the litigants have headed to the Supreme Court. On the entertainment plane, the sudden death of a 27-year-old young Nigerian, identified as Mohbad is also raising dust, the kidnapping of female students in Zamfara, the Youth Corpers’ travails, who are still languishing in the kidnappers’ den, the killing of a Seminarian and frightening rates of banditry, to say the least, appear to overwhelm the country’s security apparatuses. On the economy, the dollar exchange rate to the naira is alarming. The subsidy saga, high cost of living has added to the worsening state of things.
In Nigeria today, the increasing number of beggars on the street is frightening, and clear indication that the government seems to have lost direction in tackling unemployment. Everyone is poor, except those in government who have direct access to our commonwealth. The odds against the country and her people are in their legions. That is why it is important to remind the current administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that it is not yet Uhuru and cannot be business as usual with the Nigerian state bleeding. It therefore means that this government should avoid the pitfalls of the past, whereby propaganda was the order of the day.
Fixing of NNPC refineries being rumoured, Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS’) pronouncement on employment, Dubai Visa issues as it concerns resumption of flights from Nigeria to UAE are not anything to lie about. Government should at all times be bold to tell the people the truth and not the other way which is why the country is in a sorry state today. President Tinubu should keep an eagle eye on those appointed to key positions. They owe their allegiance to the people of Nigeria and not to their pay masters which had been the case. We are not oblivious that some appointments like the Humanitarian Minister, Dr. Betta Edu would perform, judging from the revelations she made lately on national television. Others too, should get serious and ensure that the country is pulled back from the brink of collapse. Nigeria really needs a road map that points to the direction she is heading this time. We can no longer pretend! There is no time anymore for political gyration but instead, true governance and its accrued benefits.
That is why people voted, and that is also the reason we say we are in a democracy, right or wrong! The lowering of the British Union Jack flag and the hoisting of the Green White Green flag, 63 years ago should be a blessing for all Nigerians but not for a few. That was the dream of our founding fathers who fought for this freedom. We congratulate ourselves on this occasion, while we pray and look forward to total transformation of the country, where peace, justice, love and unity shall reign supreme in the lives of the people and society.