Naija O’clock: The gains and pains of her independence


By Shehu Suleiman Kayode

In the past, more than enough had been said and written about the bearer of the Green-White-Green flag, Nigeria. More should be anticipated because it is a house full of equipped intellectuals, and where there are sound heads, more is expected to be seen and felt for the betterment of all.

It’s Naija 0’clock again as it was in the past years. Nigeria is marking her 61st year of birth, what a grace to have lived this far. Congratulations, mother Nigeria.

Nigeria before her freedom housed different inhabitants. A fertile mother was blessed with different children and as well cared for the deceitful migrants whose intents for their visit were unknown to the benevolent Royal Niger Company Territories, a name Nigeria was known for before her freedom. In the hands of migrants, the superior white men, Nigeria, and her wards suffered. They were made to beg for a better life. Virtually, nothing of Nigeria’s adornments was left behind. The colonialism era was considered the era of agony for those who lived during the time. Afflictions upon agonies. Life was a mess.

When things were not smiling and hopes seemed lost, sons of the soil rose in measure for measure against the superiors. They knew it was a fight for survival which if won would give a good life for their successors. Tactically, they fought for the country’s freedom. The first tactical approach was their acceptance of the change of names to British names for Nigerian elites. It was on record that you could not access western education except you have your name changed to theirs. Since education is one of the instrumental weapons needed for the freedom craving, they bowed to their pressure. They bowed to rise. Rise to their feet without the fear of any superior. It was a success at the end after several lives and properties were laid to rest. It was a new dawn for golden jewels. The end of agony with the birth of glory. Her people fought and won to restore her lost glory.

1960 was the birth of Nigeria’s glory. It was her freedom from British slavery. Flora Shaw, a British journalist christened Royal Niger Company Territories “Nigeria”. It is the time to build and beautify the home with befitting colours The destiny of Nigeria was left in the hands of Nigerians. Drive yourselves to fortunes or misfortune, the decision is left in the hands of Nigerians. Nigerians now have the power to determine their fate and it was positively and appropriately put into good use in the early hours of Nigeria’s independence. The earlier custodians of the citizens’ affairs knew where they were coming from and what awaits them, hence, the birth of a good legacy– good governance.

From 1960 till now, both civilians and the military governments had been given a taste of leadership delicacy at a point in time in a bid to have a home safe for all. Different leaders had assumed leadership seats and how they had managed the seat would always have (a) page(s) in the book of history. I am not writing to enlist or discuss any of our past or present leaders (heroes or villains). It is only succinct enough to say that he who leads well will be remembered for what he sows as history would be kind to him and who mars the system will be remembered for what he has done. History serves you what you deserve.

It is noteworthy that there was a country where free Education, free health care, adequate security, employment opportunities, and functioning social amenities were enjoyed. There was a country where irrespective of your race and language differences, unity, love, and compassion would be your daily admonition and was achieved. Suddenly, the glory of Nigeria turned awry after the death of selfless Nationalists and true patriotic freedom fighters for Nigeria. Their heirs are self-centred carefree and cruel. It is an awry time in Nigeria.

The legacy left behind by the past leaders is now today’s leaders’ pot of soup. The labours of the past heroes they promised they would not let go in vain are now stained with their maladministration. Sadly, how soon the glory of our heroes goes into extinction. The custodians of the state treasury now are professional embezzlers. They only multiply in wealth leaving their “led” in abject suffering. The glory is in an odd state courtesy of the cruelty of the successors of the Nigeria well-meaning gone leaders.

Truth be told, things are not smiling as mapped out by our progenitors. As against unity, peace, growth, development, compassion, love which Nigeria is known for in the past; insecurity, hate, degradation, and underdevelopment, abuse of power, humiliation is married to. Wars, griefs, unrest are the order of the day. Both the leaders and the led are the problems of the country, incontestably. We are to be held accountable for turning Nigeria’s fate from fortunes to misfortune. Should we not ask ourselves as followers about our contribution to have a saner state while we chastise the bad government?

It should interest us that our agitation for disintegration, setting infrastructures ablaze, killings, kidnapping, banditry, and terrorizing are far from a real way to build a better Nigeria. Those indulging in frivolity, creating unrest in the country are only posing threats to the growth of the country and halting the realization of Nigeria’s dream. A good and mannered Nigerian will think within his/her horizon and look for ways to relieve ugly leaders of their positions while he discharges followership responsibilities.

The nation’s boat is sinking and it’s on the verge of collapsing, its rescue lies in the hands of both the captain and the passengers. To change the story back from awry to glory as it was in the past, we need all hands on deck irrespective of our divides. Remember, Nigeria is not a home for a tribe. It is our home. It is ours and only our collective will help restore her lost glory. Do not curse but pray for the country and the elected leaders to deliver while you do your parts. Let your positive impact be felt in the country that houses you. Do, encourage others to do good, Nigeria of our dream is achievable. Nigeria can be the best when we are good, better, and best. Let us do our best and pray to God to help us handle the rest.

God bless Nigeria!!!

I love Nigeria, dearly!!!

Shehu Suleiman Kayode is a patriotic Nigerian. He can be reached at [email protected]


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