By Muhammad Mubarak Ibrahim Lawan
I still wonder about the “independence” that people celebrate on Social Media. Are we independent? Anyway, that’s a topic for Postcolonial theorists. However, I pity the barely Nigeria-educated boys and girls who blocked our roads yesterday shouting with fanfare about that “Independence”. Are they celebrating the blessed geographical entity called Nigeria or the non-working national system that was poorly set on the landmass exactly 61 years ago?
I for one find no reason to celebrate these years of bloodletting, corruption, political prostitution, misgovernance and economic mismanagement that destroy education, healthcare, transportation and hope. To respond to some commenters, I do not I receive “free education” from “Nigeria” nor pay very low tax. We all receive the education we pay for and also pay the tax that is barely seen in government’s projects.
We all pay school fees. One may argue that it is low compared to what is paid in other countries. However, the quality education that students receive in those countries is commensurate with what they pay. Here, we pay less money and get less, poor education. I believe he is sick in the head whoever thinks that parents should pay huge amount of money to enroll their children into the highly dilapidated public schools that have no toilets, no seats, no chalkboard let alone marker board; no teachers, no laboratories, no security and any academic aura.
Similarly, do we get electricity, roads, hospitals, schools, etc, from the little tax we pay? What we pay is even bigger than the little they give in return. Whatever subsidy that a government puts in place to ease the life of citizens does not exist in Nigeria. Yet some people tell you that Nigeria is the best country to live in. I pray may God heal their hearts!
The Peace and Unity that end our National Anthem are never true to the nation today. No region is peaceful or united from within let alone with other regions around. Everyday dozens of people die like fowls; tens are kidnapped and billions of Naira are embezzled and misappropriated. Still we lie to ourselves about the nation and even celebrate it’s “independence” day.
What is it to celebrate in Katsina, Zamfara, Niger, Kaduna, Borno and other places where thousands of women are made widows and their children orphans, still, running into thousands in IDPs? As such, is the celebration not a betrayal of our humanity? Are we truly celebrating this independence that equips bandits, kidnappers and other terrorists with more state-of-the-art weapons than the Nigeria Army?
We are not well-meaning Nigerians by mere celebrating independence day and sharing the “un-presidential” speech of the president who has been cocooned from the real world for years. Poor opportunists! We are not well-meaning Nigerians until we share the tragedy of every Nigerian. Similarly, we could only be Nigerians by fighting injustice, misgovernance and insecurity in every possible way.
Mubarak Ibrahim Lawan is a socio-political analyst. He writes from Kano, Nigeria.