In the early hours of Saturday the 1st of October, 1960, “the Union Jack” was lowered, hoisting and flying high the green and white flag of Nigeria
The ceremony of independence was also the laying of the foundation and putting in motion the locomotive towards nation-building of a politically independent state.
The desire for self-determination and aspiration, which the country, through the efforts of her political leaders and activists sought after and eagerly advanced in the pre-independence and the colonial era was however truncated as a result of the ugly events and political uproar that greeted the West African sub-region. The leaders who sang the uniformed tone of patriotism became a replica of slides in the dirge and ballad of regionalism and ethnic politics as promoted by the NPC, NCNC and the AG. The country was thrown into a political rigmarole; the spirit metamorphosed from “for the good of the nation” to “in the interest of the leaders”. The spirit of independence was gradually being tested in the furnace of vested interest.
The forerunners and the young leaders of the federating regions in the nascent Republican state were in full glare competing for control and domination of the national government with a disproportionate socioeconomic footprint for the protruding population timed to explode in the nearest years to come.
Despite the political drama and in-actions of the past patriots, it is our full conviction that the labour of our heroes’ past will not be in vain. They succeeded and marched their struggle with political independence as the greatest glory we celebrate today in the 21st century.
As a nation, we’ve faltered in the utilisation of our political strength to ensure a proportionate economic independence. Our importation rate attests to how weak as a nation we are economically.
Today, after 61 years of nationhood, the colonialist and her allies continue to hold unto the mitochondrion of our country, exerting active control on the country through what we describe as neo-colonialism and imperialism.
Our current league of leaders is making worse the deteriorating atmosphere of the country in their desire to amass wealth and mismanage public funds without patriotism and nationalism. Their sense of national consciousness has been shattered; showing a lack of conscience towards national growth.
The call for the creation of a rebranded nation where all compatriots will not love their country Nigeria with an ulterior disposition but a happy and proud countenance has long fallen on dried/deaf ears.
Nigeria is our country and will remain our nation. The fact remains that the bulk of the task of rebranding the country revolves around the court of the leaders.
Despite the sad realities of security and economic hardships we continue to grapple with today as a nation, we remain committed as proud citizens and resolute towards nation-building.
I am elated and I’m sure we are blessed to be called Nigerians. We wish our country a happy and prosperous independence anniversary, 2021.
Tijani Hassan Abdulkarim wrote from Potiskum, Yobe State.
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