By Victor Afamefune.
October 1st 1960 was the birth of a new nation, a birth like every other brings joy happiness and renewed aspirations, a new birth brings fulfilment and portends for a greater future it creates a great atmosphere for a new chapter . Nigeria’s birth was perhaps not exempt as freedom in this respect was a culmination of years of speeches, demonstrations, accords, agreements, disagreements, political conflicts of ethnic and cultural configurations, conflicts of interests and ideas but a critical look unravels a fatal flaw in the foundations on which our freedom was purportedly won.
A house divided continually against itself can never truly stand as that was the case with Nigeria as a free state . Our statehood was shrouded in a misconception ,a misconception that still persists till this very day ,at the precipice of nationhood our esteemed founding father’s were still at loggerheads east ,west and north were still bickering on whose region was best suited for the control of power which was to be ceded by the British, political gladiators at the time perhaps were not truly nationalistic because if they were we shouldn’t have agitated for something that we were not truly ready for an African man is perhaps egoistic, not ready in the sense that we were deprived or devoid of capable leadership but that wasn’t at all the case there was, in fact, a replete of nationals who were well trained in the art of leadership perhaps never before seen in these parts , I refuse for reasons of fairness not to mention names but we never seemed to lack credible leaders but it was perhaps the ideologies of these leaders and their state of nationalism that was in constant question . In my few years in going through journals and truly dissecting Nigerian politics, we have never for all intent and purposes possessed a truly nationalistic leader who never first thinks of his region before all others . The politics of nepotism and ethnicity still pervades the polity, herein lies one of our teething problems.
Consequently as our forebears earned independence on the pretext that we were truly ready the British saw a foreboding unrest which was brewing in the underbelly of posterity so as to forestall a monumental catastrophe they decided on damage control to manage the situation and hereby ceded control and political hegemony to the north ,as far-reaching and underlying as this move may seem it was tactical and perhaps sensible on their part when you look at it from the British standpoint very few of their colonies have existed without being split into twos or three’s the case of Pakistan splitting from India Hong Kong and their continued dispute with China and so on, their former colonies never seem to want to stay together ,perhaps it’s one of the disadvantages and vestiges of freedom, is that it creates an atmosphere whereby self-determination and it’s realization is freely expressed and misconstrued to a larger sense, which begs the question is total freedom in all ramifications truly and really the right way to go when considering the contemporary world? that perhaps is another topic for another sphere of writing . When critically assessed perhaps the British knew the north were the only regions capable of still holding us together as a nation, most may disagree based on their seeming misconstrued strength of their own ethnicity but what has transpired over the years in the country speaks volumes.
Consequently, we have lived these past 59 years as children fighting over who should eat the largest chunk of meat in the pot forgetting (just like a child would) that there is enough to go around and still be left for another day.
Nigeria and Nigerians must realise the true meaning of nationalism and what it entails, perhaps our leaders of old failed woefully in that regard to epouse much more profoundly the ethos of true nationhood and the real benefits of statehood this renowned statement by John .F.Kennedy “think not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country” is as much exemplary in trying to unravel what it means to be a nationalist in it’s truest form.
Conclusively, the future looks bleak and we need to raise a generation of role models who see not to only better their own lot but portray actions in themselves that will become a good reflection for the future generations to follow…Just like little droplets of water we can form an ocean, so also we must as individuals start making our own little contributions to statehood, what do I as a writer know about the many sufferings of the larger mass of people in the country , one thing I do know is we will never get it right if we fail to do the RIGHT things ..we should ask ourselves as Nigerians what is the right thing???….WE SOLDIER ON.
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