59 Years After Independence Nigeria Still In Search Of True Freedom| |By Henry Odeh
Nigeria is a country of over 170 million according to reported statistics not necessarily the true reflection of its popolution because national population censors is statutorily an exercise that happens every ten years in Nigeria and to think that continious reference to the last announced figure even after well over ten years of the censors exercise will be legitimizing falsehood.
On 1st of October 1960, Nigeria gained her independence from the British colonialists just three years after the then gold coast now Ghana got hers. It is noteworthy to credit the struggle for Nigeria’s freedom to our heroes past such as Sir Ahmadu Bello, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo just to mention a few of the founding fathers that fought with their sweat and blood to give us the independence that we enjoy today.
If anyone would undermine or underscore the inestimable importance of freedom let such person(s) try been in captivity or some sort of confinement to have a full grasp and appreciation of freedom in the real sense of the word.
The last stanzer of the Nigerian national anthem says thus “One nation bound in freedom, peace, and unity.” One of visions of the founding fathers of today Nigeria is to have a nation where equity and justice are for all regardless of tribe or religion, where peace reigns in every nukes and crannies of the country, where tranquility abound and where the desire to serve superceeds the desire to rule.
Obviously, Nigeria like every other developing nation is evolving and to say that the pace of evolvement so far after 59 years of mixed eras is impressive would be an arberation. 59years after independent Nigeria is still in search of freedom from oppression by the political elite, freedom of expression from the voiceless and downthroaden, freedom to freedom against dispair and fear of terror, freedom from internal insecurity where hundreds of thousands have become refugees in their own fatherland, freedom from of access to justice.
One year short of sixty years is no joke in the collective history of any nation which is why it is very important to reflect deeply, that is if Nigeria still has the kind of leaders that engage in critical reflection on state of nationhood rather than engage in fanfare of independence anniversary celebration as an annual tradition of an independent country still in search of true freedom 59 years after.
I have tried to refrain myself from attempting to bore readers with history you already know by dwelling largely on personal evaluation and assessment of Nigeria as a Nigerian. Reason is because, Nigerians, especially the youths, are mostly perceived as complainers rather than solution providers on state and national issues therefore, it is keen to this article to suggest a solution to a critical area that is believed would lift Nigeria as a nation out of the quagmire it is stuck in.
One of the biggest problem i personally think plagues Nigeria as a country is the quest for resource control in a multi-ethnic and multi-religion setup like Nigeria using politics as a vehicular tool to attain power. It is for this reason betrayal, sabotage, sheer deceits, cruelty, ruthlessness among kinsmen and friends, have all become norms in the nation’s political lansscape surfice to say that this is not peculiar to the political space alone, it cuts across all other institutions including but not limited to the judiciary and the media.
I belive that regardless of political affiliations or divide it is likely to continue if not get worse with the crop of current followers whose first allegiance is to a political party rather than national interest. History has shown that political party names are mere nomenclature, it is the type of people in a political party and their philosophies and or ideologies that makes the difference. In Nigeria for example history has shown that most of Nigerian politicians do not even understand the concept of political ideology or philosophy let alone to be guided by one, this is why Nigeria’s political space may likely continue to be dominated by same sets of old politicians migrating from one party to another so long as their personal interests are secured.
With regards to our diversities in the face of nationhood it will be of great achievement for the country if political party manifestoes are made legal documents a breach of which will be enforcable at the court of law by Nigerians. The national assembly should as a matter of urgency design a legal framework in the Nigerian constitution that will henceforth criminalize failure to execute contents of party manifestoes after assumption of power, it is by so doing accountability and transparency in government can be achieved and abuse of office becomes less prevailent.