Monday, 21 December 2015

This October 1, I will Pop Champagne and Enjoy a Pipe

This October 1, I will Pop Champagne and Enjoy a Pipe
Today is Independence Day.
For many years now whenever this day comes around one hears many Nigerians make gloomy remarks, and for very legitimate reasons, such as that there is nothing to celebrate. I remember, in year2000, when Nigeria turned forty, a certain newspaper cartoonist – I cannot precisely recall now – made a rather cynical piece with the title “A Fool at 40…” in his attempt to depict the socio-political stagnation, even decay, that had become the lot of the nation up until then.
Yet again even earlier, in the year 1985, Nigeria’s Silver Jubilee, there was a TV sitcom showing on NTA Kaduna, whose origin was actually NTA Jos. The program was “Gwaza Show”. In a special independence edition of the program that year, a character gave a backdrop to the show: it was a very funny and rather stupid character, gleefully sucking away at an oversized feeding-bottle with the map of Nigeria hung on his neck. The intended message was, needless to say, eloquent.
Nigeria has appeared to have failed her teeming citizens – or is it that her citizens have failed her? – and the cynicism is pretty well understood. Infact, some even predicted the demise of the Nigerian state by this year 2015, but, clearly, the nation is emerging even more powerfully like the proverbial phoenix. Even in commentaries on radio this year, one has heard many people making such gloomy reports on Nigeria and the needlessness for celebration of our independence today. But I beg to differ.
This year, 2015, is a watershed for this nation. It is the year that has birthed a new Nigeria, in the sense that, politically, Nigerians have spoken and done so resoundingly. Nigeria had been held hostage. A certain political party – though it is the PDP but it could have been any other by whatever name – had boasted that it would rule this country for sixty uninterrupted years. If that party had done well for Nigeria, it would have been construed that their boast lay in their delivery of good governance, the greater good and the respect of the citizenry; but no. Mostly, they never quite cared about how Nigeria and Nigerians fared. They only cared about their creature satisfactions and their ability to perpetuate themselves on the nation no matter the cost. And, even though Nigerians groaned beneath the burden of corruption and impunity under them, they carried on without paying heed. Nigerians were deemed not able to assert themselves as to what they legitimately desired because of the manner in which they had been balkanised and disembowelled of any bit of gut. But that was the waterloo of that party; because they got too comfortable and, before they know what was happening, they were dealt the sucker punch. Today, they appear to be writhing in the pangs of going extinct unless they decide to deliberately and with humility do a truthful post-mortem of their time in power and reorganize with the aim of putting Nigeria ahead of individual greed in the future.
This for me is a cause for celebration today because Nigerians finally found their voice. It is more so because the present party in power should have, if they have any modicum of wisdom, discerned that Nigerians are revelling in their new found power and will hesitate at nothing to give them the boot if the fail to make a good the mandate given to them. The 2015 elections was a double-edge sword: it expelled one and sent warnings to the other.
Another major cause for celebration for me is former President Goodluck Jonathan. Warts and all, this man must be feted for magnanimously conceding defeat even when he could decided to let the perks of his office go into his head leading him into contesting the result of the election. The trends are all over the place in Africa and beyond. Some countries are presently at war because their leaders decided, unlike Jonathan, to subvert the will of their people. By Jonathan’s very own precedent, no Nigerian leader in future will be able to stand against the people’s will. For this too, I shall celebrate.
Before his election, when he spoke at the Chatham House in the UK, the president, Muhammadu Buhari clearly stated that he would approach his eventual victory with trepidation, so to say, because of what he saw of the expectations of the Nigerian youths of him during his campaign runs across the country. At least this marks a beginning of our leaders taking our streets seriously. This, in 2015, also makes this day worth celebrating.
But amidst all of this, I will remember the Chibok girls. I will also remember the many Nigerians daily being slaughtered by insurgents, though now degraded, and also by the so-called unknown gun men. The blood of these martyrs shall serve as manure for the blossoming of a new nation, bound in freedom, peace and unity.
I will also remember the many Nigerians who died while on pilgrimage to Mecca, particularly Haj Bilkisu Yusuf. May the good Lord forgive them and grant them His eternal rest.
So my compatriots, what are you waiting for? Note that things can only get better for those who look on the brighter side of life and I must assert that Nigeria has its own fair share. If you’re reading this in the evening of today, be assured that I am celebrating our independence with a glass of Champaign accompanied with one of my yet unused pipes. Nigeria shall be great!
BLUEPRINT Newspaper; Thur. Oct. 1, 2015

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