Nigeria @ 57: Time to Commit the Past to Flames.

AS Captain David Ejoor commanded the army guards at the midnight flag raising ceremony on Nigeria’s Independence Day on October 1, 1960, the euphoria throughout the entire country was high. The hopes were favoured with the fact that our fertile land, vast mineral resources and large workforce will be harnessed optimally. The destiny of baby Nigeria didn’t need a crystal ball, to the visionaries the success of Nigeria as an independent nation was a sure odd.

Fifty-seven years on, Nigeria is overgrown, and when an overgrown child draws something on a piece of paper, you can’t ask the paper what the drawing is supposed to represent. The overgrown child must be able to answer and tell the anxious spectators what he has drawn. The overgrown Nigeria sadly can’t even draw coherent image as of today. We are still arguing what constitution we should be adopting at this stage. The absence of objectivity and intellectual rigour from those who ruled in the past has been responsible for the nation’s disorderly growth and deficiency.

We must therefore, commit our past to flames, the piles of wreckage from the first celebration of independence, we have to inaugurate a new philosophy and a new practice of politics devoid of narrowness and opportunism. The failures of our heroes past must never again be replayed. We should desist from pledging our supports to those who Chinua Achebe described as revivalists of a bankrupt and totally unusable tradition of political manoeuvring, tribal expediency and consummate selfishness. It will be unwise to sustain archaic rules of conduct that are different from those of present realities, our reactions must be spontaneous.

The present constitution must be rigorously examined and any assertion that was cynically conceived to contain sophistry and illusions must then be committed to the flames. No doubt we must embrace Federalism and abandon the Aguiyi-Ironsi unitarian system, which favoured the military way of doing things rather than considering the effects of such move on a diverse country like ours. Though, our foundational leaders made sure the federal system was tainted because of their own personal gains but historical relay and recent proceedings have shown, again and again, that we cannot continue to ignore or believe we can circumvent true federalism. Doing so is at our own peril.

According to Winston Churchill, “success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts”. Although we haven’t witnessed landmark achievements, our failure is not fatal yet, yes, just not yet, we must therefore be keen to embrace positive change with renewed patriotism as we celebrate our national new year.

God bless The Federal Republic of Nigeria.


By Oyekunle Oyeniyi

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