Just in case you are wondering what the latest buzz in Nigeria is and how to spend your weekend this Independence day, chill.
This year marks 56 years since the British rule in Nigeria ended. As usual, there is going to be a short holiday to mark the celebration, not too short however, to recall how we got here.
Nigeria existed long before the British came on board but not with the name ‘Nigeria’. In the 16th century, some Spanish and Portuguese explored the country through sea ports as they traded with the locals, giving them temporary jobs.
The British domination started in the late 19th century through the Royal Niger Company and that was how many aspects of modern life in Nigeria including the Lingua Franca [Queen’s English] as we know it today, were affected by the British Colonisation.
In the middle of the 20th century, the call for independence swept across Africa and the decline of the territories in the British Empire led to Nigeria gaining its independence on 1 October, 1960 and a new constitution was adopted exactly three years after. Nigeria first stood on its feet with Nnamdi Azikiwe as its first president.
If not for the pioneers who fought for Nigeria’s independence, we would still be slaves to the whites by now. Would it have been better or worse than being slaves to fellow blacks? That’s by the way!
Like this write up, Nigerians love to use October 1st as a day to reflect on the beautiful history of the country as well as the journey so far, as a nation. It’s part of how to spend the Independence Day!
Let us take Nigeria as a 56-year old man;
Under normal circumstances, a man his age should have a well-planned life; he should be approaching his retirement and be living off the fruit of his labour.
He should have lived a life full of accomplishments, borne children and maybe even a few grandchildren. He should own real estate properties, investments, and shares in various companies.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for Nigeria. The 56-year old man lags behind while his mates around the same western coast progress. Nigeria cannot afford light at his old age because he didn’t structure his youth well, he has no shelter and begs on the street like an Agbero in a motor park, he has several kids from several women and cannot afford to send them all to school.
However, Nigeria has a huge farm in ruin that he can cultivate to grow wealth but his wisdom is getting stale with age. He prefers to go after the people who ruined the farm, which was his father’s legacy.
His children have come of age and have no jobs. They are willing to help grow the farm but he refuses and says he will handle that himself after he is done retrieving his father’s wealth from the thieves.
“Is Nigeria a wise man?”
Should the children of such a father host a 56th birthday for him?
We all have our various thoughts on how to celebrate this 56th Independence Day and luckily, it falls on a Saturday and the Monday after it will be declared work-free, so make the most use of this October 1st.
You can choose to stay at home, eat, watch movies and sleep the whole day off; go to the national stadium to witness the Independence ceremony; or even spend it on social media checking out who went where on Instagram and who said what on Twitter.
Whichever way you choose to felicitate this great giant of Africa, do not forget to give him some advice and put him in prayers.
Ask the right questions, make the right moves, debate wisely about the state of Nigeria and how to move the country forward. That is how to spend October 1st!
Happy Independence Day to every true citizen of Nigeria!
Written by Kingsley Okechukwu.