Friday, October 1, 2010
Nigerian at 50: what is worth celebrating?
It is no gainsaying that we have come a long way as a country and as citizens. We survived countless of military rules, we are still surviving the “militocracy” system of government in existence with the elections that we can hardly call free and fair. Numerous Nigerians in their adaptive life style have learnt to survive without any form of state protection or provision. Some have taken the violation of their human rights as the norm. Crime prevails, children are now getting kidnapped and held hostage for weeks for random. Nigerians still have to contend with our dented image as 419s, fraudsters, law breakers, corrupt entities even when these negative images do not in any way represent half of the population. However, If you live in Lagos like I do, you will learn to cope with hard knock life. Thanks to Fashola, the Lagos State governor for his relentless effort to rebrand Lagos.
The effort Fashola is making cannot be said for other states. Ekiti state had witnessed electoral problems in the past and towards this anniversary for example, they are organizing golf tournament and football competition. Is that what we need really? In fact, let’s focus on Federal government. How do they really fare? How do we really fare in their hands? How far do we fare in Human Security, Human rights particularly women’s human rights? Poverty alleviation? Implementation of different treaties, legislations, instrument to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals? Do we ever make use of the African Chartered on people rights and protocol on women’s rights? Women still can’t give citizenship to their non – Nigerian husbands and that is still where we stand @ 50. Inequality thrives and we are out their spending money to celebrate! We still depend on aid, we owe money, and we have not resolved the Niger delta case. Our Economic situation is dwindling; Agriculture is zero, light minus zero. We do not have our refinery and citizens are still not benefitting from our resources. We have not found lasting solutions to religion conflicts especially in the north.
Shouldn’t we make this 50 year anniversary a public forum in different states in Nigeria and let people talk? Let people say what they want, let many Nigerians be heard talking and asking for accountability and their rights? Shouldn’t we be abolishing our long standing police act of 1958 and embracing Security Sector Reform? Shouldn’t we make this anniversary a turning point in the history of our country? Are we going to ever have regular electricity? Are we going to ever feel safe in our country. Are we going to ever feel protected and not fear for our safety for daring to speak out? Is there ever going to be sound education and good life for the multitude of the Nigerian children?
Many have being killed unjustly, many lives have being lost to crime and criminal activities, many more have yet died through conflict and crisis. Many youths are out there with no jobs, many families languish in poverty in a country blessed with honey and bread. I am not saying we should not celebrate but to what end? For more money to be squandered and embezzled in the name of celebration? Let us even say, the celebration will be to spend this money or electricity, aren’t we going to have something to rejoice about?
The status quo of how different countries are celebrating need not be copied; we can dare to be different. We can celebrate differently by taking time to look back, ponder, reflect, consult and act. We can learn from different countries that are thriving. We can be a good example to other Nations if we are genuinely committed to transforming our country and closing the gap between potentials and fulfillment as was said by Prof. Wole Soyinka. I wish we will not wait another 50 years before there will be a tangible change…
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