The Nigeria hope is a strong hope of “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress”. It is the hope of growth and purity……………………………………..
Anytime I read the story or watch the video of the Nigeria Independence declaration on October 1st, 1960, I always ask myself one single question; “why are these people happy?” But I am always left without an answer to my question.
Though my mother was not born when Nigeria gained her independence but seeing these two movies (#October-1st-1960 written by Kunle Afolayan and #half_of_a_yellow_sun written by Chimamanda Adiche) and watching several videos of the celebration, I was made to understand that all Nigerians; both home and abroad, in the cities and in the farthest villages, literate and illiterate, old and young, sick and healthy, and even the dead ones were all happy on that very day. The movies showed me how much people could be happy, as Nigerians were dancing all over the streets of the country on this faithful day. There was party in all houses like christmas. The rich were having dinner with nice meal and cocktail while the poor were not left out as they enjoyed palm wine and all they could afford. The joy was so great that everyone had new clothes on and new shoes plies the roads. People were at the Tafawa Balawa Square in Lagos (then Federal Capital Territory) as far as 6:00pm on September 30th, 1960 to witness the breaking of the flag (i.e lowering of the Union Jack and hosting of the Nigeria green white green flag) which was done at exactly 00:00hrs on October 1st, 1960. Those who could not get to Tafawa Balawa square cling unto their television as if their lives depends on it (a television set served an average of a thousand viewers) and those who have no access to a television set (especially those in the village) glued unto a radio set and as they were listening, they could picture the event in their heart.
At the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth 11 of England (represented by Princess Alexandra of Kent) at the Tafawa Balawa Square on the Independent day morning, everyone were shouting for joy, the leaders; Sir Tafawa Balawa, Sir Ahmadu Bello, chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief Nnamdi Azikwe were all looking fulfilled and the hope of a better Nigeria was written on the face of everyone present.
October 1st, 1960 was the only day all Nigerians were happy and proud to be called a Nigerian. The joy spread across the whole country. I am sure that people who are to die on that day would beg God to shift their death to the following day. It was the only day of National happiness. But I always ask myself and everyone around a question and I am still asking my self as I write this “why are these people happy?”
The hope of people like Dr. Albert Macauly who started the fight for independence and other founding fathers was destroyed when selfish and tribalism minded people came into the process.
At independent, a coalition government of Nigerian People’s Congress (NPC) of the Northerners and Muslim, and the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) of the Igbos and Christians was in power and the Action Group (AG) of the Yorubas was the opposition party. This was the beginning of tribalism as everyone was saying “if my people (tribe) are not there, anybody there is doing nothiing good”. This drew us away from the path of ‘the Nigeria hope’ of ‘Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress’.
The first military coup (1966) led to the death of the two strongest leader from the North Sir Tafawa Balewa and Sir Ahmadu Bello and also the premier of the Western state Chief Ladoke Akintola. The coup put the Igbos in charge of the country with the government headed by Gen. JTU Aguyi-Ironsi. The counter coup led by the northerners restored the power to the north. This brought in the youngest man to rule Nigeria Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon at age 34. This led to a fight between the northerners and those in the east and so many igbos living in the north were persecuted. In the movie #half_of_a_yellow_sun, I saw how the Hausa soldiers shot all the igbos in the airport with nobody to question them.
This led to the declaration of an independent state of the eastern Nigeria called the Republic of Biafra 30 May, 1967 under the leadership of Lt. Colonel Emeka Ojukwu and this led to the beginning of the Nigeria Civil War started. The Nigeria civil War led to the death of over 2million people from the eastern part of the country, houses, farmlands and several properties were destroyed, so many families were displaced and several people are missing till today and the whole region was made to starve for the duration of the war.
When Lt. Colonel Emeka Ojukwu announced that he and his Biafra army had surrendered to the Nigeria army in the movie #half_of_the_yellow_sun, I asked myself four questions when I saw the joy in these people who are sick and tired of war listening to the declaration of peace. The questions are:
1)Why did Ojukwu start what he knows he cannot finish?
2)Why did Ojukwu make these people suffer so much?
3)What was Ojukwu’s motive behind the declaration of the Republic of Biafra, and hope it was not for his personal interest?
4)Will the people of the eastern region ever recover from the effect of the war?
I thought everyone would learn from the Civil War and go back to the path of ‘the Nigeria hope’ of ‘Unity and faith, Peace and Progress’ but history has made me understand that instead nigerians moved farther from the path of hope as selfishness, corruption, tribalism and religious sentiment increased. Everyone wanted to be in government, coup came after coup and lots of blood were shed, politicians played their games and everyone started thinking of himself alone not minding what happens to the person next to him.
As time goes and year passes away, we stray farther away from the path of ‘the Nigeria hope’. We are still moving away from the path even in this current age.
But who will save my dear nation and bring us back to the path of ‘the Nigeria hope’?
Several people said the youth should be given the chance to rule the nation, probably they have forgotten that the head of states in the early day of the military regime were between the age of 30-40years while some people said the old men are wise enough for the task, maybe they have forgotten too that we have tried them and they have failed us too, Olusegun Obasanjo was head of state at the age of 39years and he later became the president at 62years of age but there was no difference as well as the incumbent president President Mohammadu Buhari and so many of them, they are not leading us to the right path, but far away from ‘the Nigeria hope. Several governments have come and gone but none of them has delivered our hope but they always keep us hoping.
Who will save us now? Who will bring us back to the path of ‘the Nigeria hope’? Who will make October 1st of every year a day of national happiness? Who will? These are the questions we ask ourselves but we have never gotten an answer to our questions.
The sole answer to our questions is a solution and the only solution is you and I. You and I are the only solution to the problem facing our dear Nigeria. We are the one to make Nigeria a better place
You and I will save Nigeria if we would say ‘NO’ to ‘tribalism’, ‘selfishness’ and ‘religious sentiment’. We can bring back ‘the Nigeria hope’ if we can make the growth of Nigeria (not the increase of pocket) our primary interest and putting all our best in serving our motherland. We will have many national days of happiness if we will see Nigeria as our own and give all it take to make sure that ‘the labour of our heros past shall never be in vain’. Let us all pledge the last drop of our blood for a better Nigeria.
The Nigeria Hope
is the hope of Africa
The Nigeria Hope
like a young lamb waiting for milk
and running from the wolves,
believes that help comes
as showers of heavy rain
that sweeps away the dirts
and makes the desert a lawn.
The Nigeria Hope
is the dream of a little child
waking to a bright new day.
It is the hope that hold us together
The hope of
Unity and Faith,
Peace and Progress.
The Nigeria Hope
Please join me in saying the Nigeria national prayer.
Oh God of creation
Direct our noble course
Guide our leaders right
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow and live in just and truth
Great lofty height attain
To build a nation where peace
And justice shall reign.