By Adamu Usman Garko
The 61-year celebration of independence by Nigeria in 2021 will be a celebration of faux independence as Nigeria has yet to emancipate herself from the shackles of slavery fully. This slavery, however, isn’t covert but overt; it isn’t manifest but subliminal. Before the independence in 1960, that slavery was manifest. However, the contemporary form of slavery is reflective in the abysmal display of patriotism on all fronts and regards.
If, in 61 years of existence as an independent nation, Nigeria has yet to boast of policies that favour her citizens confidently and can only boast of policies copied from her colonialists hook, line and sinker, then what independence is there to celebrate? If we have yet to absolve plagues like ethnic rivalry, corruption, the proliferation of theft, among other issues, then these calls for recourse in our actions. These are calls for a pictorial representation of the kind of Nigeria we want and deserve. Maybe that way, we would be able to plan towards the actualisation of our dream Nigeria.
As a millennial, the first archetype I nurse is a Nigeria that appreciates creativity and innovation; there is no gainsaying that we are people blessed with talents, innovative and creative abilities, clarity of vision, resilience, and other virtues. Yet, the sickening reality is that these virtues are not duly apportioned the appreciation and support they deserve. Because of this, hordes of talents have been silenced and/or lost to countries where they are well appreciated. But, if schemes geared towards supporting and motivating the innovative abilities of young minds are instituted by the Federal Government of Nigeria, I believe that this subtle form of intellectual slavery will be absolved.
Second, a Nigeria controlled by leaders who nurse a burning desire for recourse and restitution is what I desire. Young minds like myself have, over the years, witnessed so many transitions in government, but these transitions influence nothing; there is a continuum of hunger and pain despite the transitions.
Leaders elected into public offices are elected on the grounds of financial strength, not on the grounds of shown community service, not on displayed prestige and honour, not on the grounds of brilliance and zeal for change.
During election periods, contestants for public offices litter our streets with faux promises only to be elected and trail the path of their predecessors. So, I want a Nigeria controlled by patriotic, sane, brave leaders who are not afraid to take the bulls of change by the horn.
Also, a peaceful Nigeria is everything; a Nigeria devoid of violence, one where the insurgency is a word found in the pages of history, not on the daily newspapers, one where the safety of lives and properties is guaranteed. I am honestly tired of embodying fear in the crevices of my body, fear of being kidnapped, fear of leaving home whole and getting back unwhole, fear of losing all I’ve gathered as properties to the hands of thieves or the hands of ruins because this fear cripples the creativity of young minds like myself and this conversely affects our individual contribution to the development of the country.
A peaceful Nigeria is not the only key to development but also key to the solidification of whatever changes occur. So I want a Nigeria devoid of favouritism, one other cankerworm that has eaten deep into the sinews of all fronts, even the healthcare system, even the judiciary.
I want a Nigeria I can call home, and a home is a place of respite. I want a Nigeria that is kind. A Nigeria brimmed with people who are open and ready to embrace diversity in culture and language, choked with humane, open-minded people who see life as a commonplace for collaboration and not one for unhealthy competition.
I want a Nigeria that can boast of being a giant, a Nigeria that isn’t a phoney or paperish giant but one that is living up to the giant tag by being the cheerleader of progress and development on the continent. A Nigeria that is clever in her use of raw materials, one that wouldn’t be exporting crude oil to other countries and rebuy.
Until the Nigeria I described above is actuated, we would continue celebrating decades of independence without knowing that we are still enslaved in regards stated above; intellectual slavery, financial slavery, mental slavery and even developmental crippling.
Until we have a structured model out in place to actualize the kind of Nigeria stated above, I am afraid we shouldn’t be celebrating independence. And, we need not wait any further, for the future is now.
Adamu Usman Garko writes from Gombe. He can be reached through email@example.com.
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