Now that the Independence Day celebration is over, where are those saying that our Independence is not worth celebrating simply because of the current state of Nigeria?
Do you read your history? Who told you that celebrating our Independence is about celebrating the present crisis in Nigeria?
Who told you that it is about celebrating President Muhammadu Buhari and his achievements or shortcomings; Or about celebrating the kind of leaders we have today in Nigeria; Or about whether or not you’re happy with the way things are happening in Nigeria today?
Who told you that? Read up on your history. It matters. Because that’s not why we memorate and celebrate our Independence every year.
And several hours later, on the morning of October 1, 1960, a representative of Queen Elizabeth II handed Nigeria’s constitution over to Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the country’s new prime minister.
This declaration was not only hope but a revolutionary and inspiring document: it aimed to overthrow tyranny and create a new order of self-government through the power of self-determination and collective action. For all its flaws, it can still today be an inspiration.
On Independence Day, we celebrate not anyone or anybody but the proclamation of independence from British rule; Our liberty and our freedom; And the sweat of our founding fathers who worked hard tirelessly and sacrificed their lives for our independence.
Today, though, it’s midnight in Nigeria: disunity, ethnicity, insecurity, corruption, ineffective leadership, bad governance and other forms of systematic inequality may seem to undermine the claims of Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa’s visionary Independence speech.
Perhaps the 1st of October should become a moment to remember the promises left unfulfilled, as in his words “I promise you, we shall not fail for want of determination..” as well as the achievements of Nigerian Independence, liberty, self-determination, self-government, and the pursuit of happiness.
Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa, the Nigerian citizen privileged to accept from Her Royal Highness the Constitutional Instruments which are the symbols of Nigeria’s Independence stood before Nigeria in joy, pride, and hope—and said: “But now we have acquired our rightful status, and I feel sure that history will show that the building of our nation proceeded at the wisest pace: it has been thorough, and Nigeria now stands well- built upon firm foundations.”
Perhaps, Tafawa-Balewa and our founding fathers must be turning in their graves to learn that their dreams have been shattered by ineffective leadership and the building of our nation didn’t only proceed in an unwise pace but in a hopeless and slow pace. And the well-built foundation on which they stood and structured our nation upon is also shaky and being excavated by bad governance. There was a country indeed.
But any real and positive change in the status quo depends on the continued and selfless action of the people. History has thrust upon our generation an important destiny—to complete and cleanse the stained and tainted democracy in our dear country. The future of Nigeria is bound in the present crisis. And if Nigeria is ever going to be a fully independent and democratized country, then it all depends in our collective duty to dramatize the present situation.
This is no time for hopelessness or pessimism. And no time for apathy or ethnicity. This no time for party politics or empty philosophical debates about freedom on social media space. This is a time for vigorous and positive action. We must all rise to the defenders of the status quo. Though the defenders of the status quo won’t let go easily, won’t yield, without a fightback to all those concerned about the future at stake. But will surely succumb to the collective will and duty of all of us as the citizenry. Let’s have no despair for the future. So, let’s have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Nigeria, even if our motives (demanding for good governance) are presently misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Nigeria because the aim and goal of humanity is found in freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with the destiny of Nigeria.
The Independence of Nigeria is above any individual, politician, leader or any group of people. Its recognized that systems are designed for the results they get.
Our people must be able to know our history. Hence the federal government should as a matter of urgency, inculcate History in our secondary schools as a compulsory subject. By knowing our history, nobody will be asking the worthiness of celebrating our independence. This is very essential to the youths and upcoming generation.
Because if one do not know the history of his family, he won’t know what happened and how to guard against the repeat of past mistakes.