By Enenche Enenche
To the people of Nigeria, today marks it 60 years when fellow men and women sacrificed everything within reach to pull down the union jack and hoist the green white banner at Independence Square Lagos with a promise ” to unto our children, a banner without stain”.
That symbolic event on Saturday October 1, 1960 gave every Nigerian hope, it set the mechanism in motion that the world’s largest black race was on a path to change the narratives of the black race for good.
These hopes of brighter days ahead that echoed from Independence Square (currently Tafawa Balewa Square) Lagos resonated waves of cherished aspirations in the hearts of every Nigerian that “freedom has come”.
This aspiration is what motivated my late dad who flew the banner of Nigeria as an ordinance corp of Nigerian Army for close to three decades to secure a nation for his children with bullet wounds and pains of scorpion stings.
This aspiration is what motivated the likes of Margaret Ekpo, Fumilayo Ramsome Kuti to mobilize women press for liberation of Nigeria from the grip of colonialists.
This aspiration is what inspired a generation of Nigeria to run and press for a glorious nation.
Shortly after Independence, we were at Congo. Our blood went down there to help African brothers and sisters there from the chains of war.
Today, when I look at the continent of Africa, I see blood of Nigerians from Angola to Sierra Leone, Liberia to Somalia, with Lungi Barracks Abuja reminding us of the bloody battle to liberate Lungi Town and the only Airport in Sierra Leone, Lungi International Airport where many of our soldiers died. Lungi today has the highest concentration of the blood of Nigerian soldiers outside the shores of Nigeria… this is part of the sacrifices we have made as a people.
Nigeria is a great country with so much potentials but we Nigerians began to kill Nigeria. Religion and Tribe became a tool that determines if you are “a real” Nigerian. All these are foundational issues.
A coup in January, followed by another one in July. An accord in Aburi Ghana couldn’t stop a gun shot at Gakem, Bekwerra in the current Cross River state. A voice from Ahiara, a bridge fell across river Niger, an ambush at Abagana shocked federal troops. A bloody war that left deaths and hunger on its part ended in Owerri in January. We went through this and came out but with so many unattended questions that still hunt us till this day.
Today, when I look at Nigeria, so many things have changed.
Our flag that went up 60 years ago, has not changed.
Our National Anthem, bank currency notes, all changed but our map has largely not changed even though we painfully seceded to Bakasi to Cameroon.
Our beliefs in Nigeria have changed, this is not because we have problems with Nigeria but because we have problems with the not so good happenings.
Today, bandits have taken over farmlands, terrorists hitting us hard daily, militants partying on nation’s economic lifeline, armed herdsmen reducing our farmlands to mass graves and IDPs camps, corruption has taken over our institutions, right in our eyes, we butchered patriotism and nationalism and bury them in the cemetery of TRIBALISM AND RELIGION… that is the day Nigeria died.
The reality at hand is real. The sense of patriotism in the hearts of many including myself is low. But if we must move forward, we must do things differently.
We must think differently. The voices of secessionists echoing from Umuahia to Abeokuta MUST be looked into as a matter of urgency.
The generation before us has succeeded in killing this country, but let us be the generation that would revive her.
We have seen where Tribe and Religion has ended us. If we don’t rise to the challenge to do things differently, we shall also perish like them.
Even though I am dissatisfied with many things happening in Nigeria today, she has my loyalty and support.
My pledge to be faithful, loyal and honest, to defend her honour and glory is still intact. It is my quest to defend her honour and glory that pushed me to write this.
ARISE NIGERIANS! NIGERIA IS REDEEMABLE!!.
Happy Independence Anniversary Nigeria!