By Preye Campbell
The above title is inspired by a book I read in 2017. Titled In Dependence, Sarah Ladipo Manyika (the author) effortlessly displayed the theme that love is truly universal; not Black, not White. Just universal. But away from that, was her deep argument and richness in Nigeria’s history, and as we prepare for another year of independence, one of her questions keep ringing in my head; did independence come too early?
When, in 1960, Nigeria gained her independence, that monumental decision was viewed as an eye-opener by many.
Having to rule your land yourself struck a good amount of responsibility to move your land forward. We chased away the country that discovered us because, like young adults, we believed it was time to control our destiny. Ruling Nigeria, by Nigerians, for Nigerians, should mean that the land is ready for progress, and since we were passionate about fighting for ownership, it should mean that the country would rest in firm hands. Or maybe that was what I thought.
60 years, and we are here. Here is the 21st century with a country that seems many centuries behind. It makes me wonder what things could have been if independence was a little delayed. Of course, I am not trying to downplay the efforts of our nationalists who fought night and day to give us our land. But even they would be rolling in their graves now if they could see what has become of the land they fought for.
In an entirely different script, Nigeria would have remained under the wings of the British government. There would have been a lot more exploitation of our natural and human resources, and it would be a daylight robbery of the highest order. But maybe, just maybe, the economy would have been a lot better than the scraps we have come to live with.
Maybe we would not be celebrating 60 years while the education sector continues to make headlines daily for the wrong reasons. Maybe our supposed security institutions would not turn villains on us. Maybe we would not have a recycle of thieves at the various seats of power. Maybe would not even come across the epileptic power supply.
Maybe our votes would really count in elections. Maybe we would not continually move backward as the case has been. A lot of maybes!
Our religious institutions teach us not to ever make a pact with the Devil, but maybe doing so may have prevented these ‘angels’ from ruling the motherland. After all, the devil you know…
Again, this goes against all that was fought for in the quest for freedom. But we are now living in bondage under a sophisticated term called Democracy.
Instead of giving so much energy on creating congratulatory messages, we should rather ask ourselves if this was the version of Nigeria the likes of Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Tafawa Balewa, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti had in mind.
We have now come to the part where this damning question is raised; did independence come far too early? Or maybe we still have the colonialists among us, dressed as politicians?
Happy 60th, Nigeria.