Though 57, is Nigeria truly independent?

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By: Bode Ekerin

[Analyses]–Harking back to the historical times, one significance of this day is the fact it ushered in a new breath of freedom as it commemorates the day of liberation from the British colonial governments. Walking down the memory lane, I could recall vividly during my primary and secondary school days, we would be made to go on parade holding and waving the green and white flag to the accompaniment of songs of freedom and unity.

In recent times, it has been observed that such vigour, enthusiasm and exuberance appears to have vanished into thin air. What could be the cause of this? Could it be that the people have given up on that fantasy of a good and perfect Nigeria which is yet to come to reality? Could this be taken to mean a silent agitation to return to the colonial rule? In either case, the most important thing is to ensure that the hope and faith of the people in the country is restored.

Superficially speaking, Nigeria is an independent nation and it was so declared on the 1st of October, 1960. On hearing this, people rejoiced at the final granting of the long-agitated independence. We saw the red and white union Jack being replaced by the green and white flag; we had a native president, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, though who was still a representative of the crown (of England); our government and economy were still controlled by the colonial masters. We saw that the privy council of England until 1963 still remained the highest judicial court of appeal. Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe only ceased to be a representative of the queen in 1963 when Nigeria became a republic, the Nigerian supreme court then became the highest judicial court of appeal.

Our economy is still vastly being controlled by them! Local business firms have been unable to cope owing to unfair competition with foreign firms and the corollary of this is insolvency.

Who is to blame for this? If I am given the opportunity to apportion blames, I would blame our government which has been so unscrupulous, so much so that no attempt to protect local business firms have been taken. Our government, in tandem with our colonial masters, are those who impoverished us.

How can we claim to be independent when our government has failed to promote and encourage innovation and initiatives? They lag in promoting Nigeria-made products! They do not render their patronage which leaves local manufacturers frustrated. Whereas promotion of locally made goods will help to alleviate the problems of this country especially unemployment as more people would be recruited.

Also taking a look at our educational system, people have been forced to go abroad in search of quality and good education. The common man who could not afford such luxury would have no option than to settle for the inferior and become half-baked. It is however saddening that these deficiencies are mostly seen in government institutions.

To conclude, I would posit that Nigeria has truly been declared independent but the values of independence are still missing. Governments should try to build a country with an ideal independence and sovereignty like China or North Korea. They should strive towards ensuring that this country is devoid of foreign control or interference as the people earnestly await the values of independence.

Bode Ekerin writes from Lagos State University College of Medicine. He can be reached via Whatsapp 08054784379 or Email address bodeekerin@gmail.com




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