Friday, June 22, 2012

Nigeria’s Centennial Celebration: Will Nigeria be one country by 2014?

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Two days ago, we congratulated a colleague for his decision to relocate his family from Kaduna to Lagos following the increased bombings in the North and the most recent multiple attacks on churches on Sunday, 17 June 2012. This colleague had lived the better part of his life in Kaduna, and had started a family there before he was posted to our Abuja office, so you can imagine that it was a really difficult decision for him to make.

As we grieve in the devastation of incessant killings in our country, I heard in the news this morning as I drove to work that the Secretary to the Federal Government, Anyim Pius Anyim has inaugurated a committee to plan for Nigeria’s centennial celebration slated for 2014. A key highlight of the celebration  to mark 100 years of the amalgamation of the North and South in 1914 would be a compilation of Nigeria’s history. As I soaked in the news, the recent diamond jubilee celebration of Queen Elizabeth II reign was a good reminder that we need to preserve our history.

However, while a compilation of Nigeria’s history is long overdue, I ask myself – Will Nigeria still be standing as one country by 2014? Fifty-two years after independence and we are in doubt as to whether we are truly free.

Speaking of history, I recall our journey to democracy. It began with the passing on of General Sani Abacha, and then came the interim government and thereafter, the election of President Olusegun Obasanjo. I still have a vivid picture of the way the passing of General Abacha was celebrated back in the day when the breaking news came on air that fateful afternoon in the year 1998. 

I was opportuned to be in the University then (no better place to have witnessed such an event) headed for the library to do some studying. The  atmosphere was  filled with jubilation and the least charade that it seemed like I had misplaced priorities. What was the occasion? I thought to myself. In no time, I learnt that the life of General Sani Abacha had come to an abrupt end. We were free at last! Or so we thought.

Two things were noteworthy which I can never forget. Students in their ever  ecstatic mood had managed to swiftly build a make shift coffin and they were in procession with leaves depicting a loss, but as against the usual gloomy faces and tears in a funeral there was jubilation and of course pandemonium. Mind you, this was only one faction. The other faction had hijacked an unfortunate Coca-cola distribution truck and they had declared free drinks and a carnival for all. What a shame!

While I do not applaud those students for their unruly behaviour. It  was however a clear indication of the level of oppression we had faced from the Abacha regime. We celebrated then, thinking it was the end of untold hardship. 

Some months down the line, as we watched the swearing in of President Obasanjo, my mum shed tears as she couldn’t believe that Nigeria finally had a democratic government. I couldn’t understand it but her explanation was that life in Nigeria was just about to get better. Today, I am of the opinion that my mum shed tears in vain.

1 comment:

  1. Your blog message is a good one. Your composition is good. I am sure that I can learn one or two things from you. During the time you spoke about the Abacha era, I was at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma and also knew how that period looked like.

    But I want to make something clear to all of us youths. Nigeria will be better. It is you & I that wil change it. We will not sit on the side lines and wish it will be ok. I said this becasue of your last statement. It is not true that your mum's tears were in vain. I refuse to beleive it.

    What we need is a good leader. He will come. She will come. We must be hopeful and optimistic. What will we do in this world if we loose hope? If we dont have hope and are not optimistic, why dont we just go to the middle of the road and stand there for a trailer to kill us so that we know we are dead? Efe, you are alive because you have hope.

    There are leaders that come every 30 - 50 yrs in the life of a country. Sir Winston Spencer Churchill is my mentor. I took an interest in him because he was born in my month, the month of November. In him, as I read his biography and story over and over again, I have seen the same weaknesses and strenghts that I have. But I saw how God used him to turn around the events of World War II against Adolf Hitler. He was a good leader in his time and in the world.

    Another of my mentor who rose from grass to grace in the business world was John Rockefeller. He handled business in his time like never before. Now I mention the above people because I have read about them and have been told that great leaders come every 30 to 50 yrs in a country's time. Nigeria included.

    Efe, things are changing in Nigeria whether we agree ot not. Nobody will believe that some governors who are doing well today could ever change the face of their states but they have done it. We must understand that even if the bad crop of leaders dont move, nature will take its course on them.

    The only advice I can tell you is to build yourself and be prepared for the future. I am going there myself and all I am doing now is building who I am for the future. That is my purpose in life. That is my dream. That is my duty. Till death takes me away. That is the only way I can make a change because Nigeira is too great to be underutilized. The North & South will remain as one. It only takes a good leader to use all parties properly for progress. So many things are bad in the country but with time, things will smoothen out. This is my believe even with the state of the country today.

    Even my wife & children of the future need to know who I am. I have a passion for my country and I believe that I am one of the few men that God will lead up there to make a change.

    Will you come along?


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