Nigeria’s October 1st:: Mourning The Death Of Independence By Odusote Oluwakayode
We are all mourners in these periods of grief and the killers are daily increasing in size to continue their spree of killing exercise. Please don’t be hopeful that Independence is not totally dead, just being careful to assume all will be well is the simple key to survival.
I wish to say to many out there, waiting to be inspired of a hope in the early hours of Tuesday, 1st of October, 2013 from the president’s address should be wary -some of those we expect to hear such words from are the masterminds of our fate. They have, by their selfishness and greed allowed this day be remembered every year with blind celebration instead of solemn moment of mourning.
From the Villa, associates with soiled hands will gather and states of the federation will follow suit- these are the politicians and corporate associates that have done everything possible to mock the departing soul of Independence. They will seat round the table to cling glasses and devise better ways of sucking the blood of this poor soul in another 365 days. What has Independence done to these killers whose birth was through the dedicated agitation of our founding fathers?
The new born was celebrated in villages, in towns, in regions, in political parties, in religious organizations, in institutions of learning and those home and abroad gathered as a united nation that decried injustice, slavery, manipulation, exploitation and suffering to welcome an Independent Nigeria. The Federation of Nigeria was born with full independence granted on 1 October 1960 under a constitution that provided for a parliamentary government and a substantial measure of self-government for the country’s three regions. The federal government was given exclusive powers in defense, foreign relations, and commercial and fiscal policy. The monarch of Nigeria was still head of state but legislative power was vested in a bicameral parliament, executive power in a prime minister and cabinet, judicial authority in a Federal Supreme Court.
It is important to note that in the quest for freedom, the first tool our leaders gained was Intellectual independence which was needed as a weapon to secure the national independence. Whilst it was not easy, they moved from a position of social – political dependence to one of independence. These were the ideals behind the birth of true independence – ability to make decisions for self governance. They realized early that depending on our colonial masters intellectually will be so damaging because, if Africans are continually dependent, it would be incredibly difficult to break from the shackles of colonial rule. They realized that with intellectual dependency, it would be hard and extremely difficult to free a people in order to be a consciously deciding human race.
The killing machines do not respect the standard argument that intellectual dependence happens when you stop thinking for yourself. Instead of filtering ideas through your own powers of reasoning, you accept advice, sometimes blindly. You get caught onto dogma and superstition instead of what is true for you. The curse of our political circus is simply of dependence on irrational policies. I make it no secret that most of our leadership has no clue of governance. The moment you subject your reasoning to ministers and aides, what is the need for occupying a position of authority?
The killers of independence are those who can’t simply think! I have more respect for great thinkers who an ardent believers in welfarist ideology, thought through it and imbibed the beliefs in their cabinets and subordinates than for leaders whose dependent mind is to swallow whatever is being told by their so called political advisers. There is no doubt that these persons are the willing collaborators in the murder of independence.
Understanding governance and the will to lead a people should not be devoid of the expected and important intellectual independence needed to package and deliver the necessary dividends of democracy popularly known as the government of the people, by the people and for the people. A capable, efficient and effective leadership does not avoid ideas that don’t fit neatly into his worldview – all because its coming from an opposing camp, you embrace them and deliver appropriately. You think through ideas yourself instead of blindly accepting pre-digested facts from other people who do not have genuine intentions of the people at heart.
In the search for effectiveness in government, Mao Tse Tung explained that “Conscientious practice of self-criticism is still another hallmark distinguishing our Party from all other political parties. As we say, dust will accumulate if a room is not cleaned regularly, our faces will get dirty if they are not washed regularly. Our comrades’ minds and our Party’s work may also collect dust, and also need sweeping and washing. The proverb “Running water is never stale and a door-hinge is never worm-eaten” means that constant motion prevents the inroads of germs and other organisms. To check up regularly on our work and in the process develop a democratic style of work, to fear neither criticism nor self-criticism, and to apply such good popular Chinese maxims as “Say all you know and say it without reserve”, “Blame not the speaker but be warned by his words” and “Correct mistakes if you have committed them and guard against them if you have not” – this is the only effective way to prevent all kinds of political dust and germs from contaminating the minds of our comrades and the body of our Party”- On Coalition Government” (April 24, 1945), Selected Works, Vol. III, pp. 316-17.
Those are the apt practices that should exist in political landscape and not the devised means to silence every objective critic by all means necessary. Like all forms of independence, intellectual independence is both a personal and a moral obligation required by every Nigerian to monitor a government’s performance. Subjecting Nigerians to intellectually dependence on a minister of finance, World Bank and IMF is not a responsible way to govern. A nation dives deeper into multiplying problems by borrowing thinking powers instead of creating one that is robust for its growth.
The ultimate ideal of an independent nation is to use that independence help build a country of free people, with collective efforts. The victory of a nation over dependent mentality is a valuable asset that should not be thrown away with pettiness. The value of independence is that it makes a nation free from corruption, poverty, lack of quality and affordable healthcare, insecurity, famine etc.
What is the pride in a nation celebrating independence from colonial masters when she can’t boast of independence from internal colonial masters? Independence is being killed daily and the killers are strongly rooted amongst us. The assured way to guarantee independence is not the path of corruption, bad leadership, mediocre jamboree, party turmoil, insecurity, poverty, unemployment, underemployment and contract inflation but the intelligent paths of national discourse, true federalism, electoral transparency, financial prudence, moral discipline etc that will assure a better nation worth living.
How do we celebrate what is called independence, when the appetite for blood has not ceased. The nation wakes up anticipating gory stories that will flood the newsstands telling us of communal clashes, book haram’s gruesome attacks, assassinations, robberies, accidents pipeline vandalization, verbal attacks from politicians, ASUU strike and unemployment.
How do we celebrate what is called independence when communities live in fear of attacks and reprisal attacks. The clashes between Erin-ile and Offa communities of kwara state is still ripe in the memory, Ife and Modakeke, Tiv and Jukuns Kano today, Lagos tomorrow not forgetting religious and political agitation from over 200 ethnic nationalities.
If only we could analyze the ideology behind our independence, maybe the need to celebrate will come to mind. The Americans are happy to celebrate independence because they collectively share the knowledge of a hard fought battle basically carried out to guarantee individual freedom that “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Those words from the preamble for the declaration of independence mean a lot to all American. This mediocre celebration of independence could be the last, if only the nation understands and adapts the American vision of independence and freedom.
We can only hope to celebrate independence when religious coloration is not selfishly dragged into socio-political issues, when places of worship are not turned into abattoir, when an individual’s opinion is not unnecessarily coined as regional agitation, when hard work is rewarded, when leaders’ mindset is purified from the intoxication of power and when the led are not gullible to accept a fate of suffering hoping for a messiah to come from the skies.
In the midst of the incessant security lapse, how do we celebrate independence when over 40 young students, studying to be of positive change to a country that cared less for them were gruesomely murdered in their sleep?
The best security is provided for the President, Governors, Ministers and their numerous cliques of aides and families, yet we have a nation in silence in the face of all these mindless acts. In our silence and refusal to accept the need for a way forward through a genuine dialogue, we kill independence continuously in his sleep; therefore, instead of celebrating empty, it is logical to mourn the departure of independence.
Rest as well in the bosom of the free nations of the earth dear independence, till a nation called Nigeria meets you to part no more.
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