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INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION: ARE WE TRULY INDEPENDENT?

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October 1st, is a day that has been set aside by the Nigerian government to commemorate the freedom from the British colonists. It’s a day that is celebrated both nationally and internationally, by Nigerians in diaspora. For sixty years after the independence, Nigeria and Nigerians by extension, have been through many downturns:

We have witnessed a civil war, communal crises, natural disasters, civil unrests, and terrorist activities. To an extent that those of us where not born in the days of old: The days of Achebe and Soyinka literary prime, the old days of Awolowo and Zik of Africa; those of us born just in the days of Obasanjo and Buhari’s second comings, we hardly believe that Nigeria (the self acclaimed giant of Africa), ever had any jolly good days.

We are here, set to commemorate the Independence Day. However, while we are entitled to a celebration, since it’s a ceremonial obligation of the state, many Nigerians are wondering and pondering. With the skyrocketed prices of staple foods as well as the fact that a good number of Nigerian workers in the private sector have not been working, how then are we going to celebrate. Or should we turn a blind eye and go ahead to celebrate without these people who can not afford even a one square meal for their families?

In those days, during the Independence Day, the Nigerian school children usually converged at community centers to hail Nigeria’s exalted name. Today, many of such children doubt whether they will be in school again, will the celebration be meaningful to them?

The South-southwesters and the South-Easters have indicated their intentions to stage secessionist demonstrations. Will it therefore, be a celebration or a demonstration?

I know that we are a nation-state with fun loving ethnicities who take the weekends for celebration. Yet, it calls for sober reflection: How do we intend to celebrate when our prime youth are caught off from schooling and our children’s hope dashed on the rocky yards of corruption?

I felt we should be left alone to remain as the orphan-like people we have been made to be. After all, the celebration is going to be merely a symbolic ceremony without concrete indices.

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Written by Hiam Terhile

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