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57 and counting - Lets change key

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57 and counting - Lets change key

Another year has passed and Nigerians have “celebrated” a further 365 days of independence. Its’ now been 57 years. As has become the norm, citizens were told that celebrations would be “low-key”.  This is a tacit admission by government that things are not well. Authorities must be commended for deciding not to squander money on frivolous celebrations. The contradiction is that, when it comes to the personal affairs of Government officials “low-key” celebrations appear to be out of the question. In recent memory one Governor held a lavish “high-key” birthday party with an obscene cake, and another held an extravagant reception for his predecessor after radically increasing taxes. 
A growing number of glossy paparazzi magazines regularly publish pictures of Nigerian government officials and their cronies bedecked in all their finery, indulging themselves at high-key state functions, banquets, burials, weddings and birthday parties in exotic locations.  It’s a reflection of our muddled-up priorities that notwithstanding our myriad of problems, the high-key celebration and events industry is one the fastest growing sectors in the economy! The Nigerian elite habitually celebrate with indecent extravagance all sorts of occasions which in other societies are celebrated moderately. 
Ironically discouraging such high-key celebrations would only add to the already precarious youth unemployment situation in the nation. Independence Day, like most other revelries in Nigeria, doesn’t really warrant lavish celebrations. An apt analogy of the Nigerian predicament is the story of a boy who decided to leave his parents’ house in order to assert his manhood.  He regularly returned home to beg his parents for loans, and whenever he was sick, he went to visit their doctor. 
Prior to his “independence”, the boy looked robust and healthy, now he looked haggard after losing weight at an alarming rate. Can he be said to have any reason to celebrate? After 57 years, Nigeria is increasingly in debt and its citizens are yet to be guaranteed the benefits of modern science and technology. Independence in its narrowest meaning is associated with the exercise of self-government, and sovereignty over the territory. To that extent, Nigeria is independent. But in its full ramifications independence means much more.  The opposite of independent nation, is dependant territory. 
Paradoxically Independent Nigeria is still dependant on the outside world for virtually everything it needs to survive. The nation produces no consumables of note, and has a poor maintenance culture. Nigeria’s richest entrepreneurs aren’t producers who generate employment and wealth, but importers whose activities are economically ruinous. Independence Day, should not be an occasion for chest-beating, but an opportunity for sober reflection as to how come the dreams of our nation’s founding fathers haven’t been realised? How did it ever get to the stage where the only perceivable national philosophy is “every man for himself”? How come in spite of all the struggles and sacrifices of the past, we as a nation of diverse homogeneity are yet to articulate a national vision other than the mantra of unity”? How best can we develop a society where the basic needs of life are accessible and easily affordable by the majority? 
Admittedly the nation is handicapped by a ridiculously incompetent 1999 Constitution imposed by the military which promotes dysfunctional bureaucracy, but a plethora of solutions to the mess have been proposed. Regrettably no democratic leader has been courageous enough to try any of them.  There has been no noteworthy effort to either restructure the polity, or rebuild our petroleum based economy. Oil revenue can only be expected to dwindle over the coming years. Disaster stares the nation in the face because the world is now moving away from fossil fuels and we have squandered our oil windfalls. 
The irony in Nigeria is that after 57 years everyone knows the problems, and everyone knows the solutions, yet nothing is done about it. It’s generally agreed that the biggest obstacle to implementing appropriate solutions is our political class. Nigerian AGIP (Any Government In Power) politicians simply don’t have what it takes to conceptualise a new social order. They are deficient in the integrity, ethics and guiding political philosophy required to economically and socially re-engineer society. Their main contribution to development of a national political culture since independence is the entrenchment of insincerity, corruption and political subterfuge. 
In governance, they are renowned for confusion in objectives and discontinuity in policies and programs. It’s evident that many leading political figures in Nigeria really don’t know what time of day it is. Some were quoted as saying quite absurdly that Oct 1st should be used to celebrate 18 years of unbroken democratic governance. It beggars belief that they can’t differentiate between the significance of Independence Day, and the reason for Democracy Day! This difficulty in grasping the significance of independence is the reason they mistakenly believe that under democracy the rights of citizens should be subjected to the larger interest of the nation. They erroneously think that the people exist for the State, rather than vice-versa. They fail to realise that that all the increasing agitations for re-structuring, resource control, or even outright succession, are symptoms of an increasing loss of faith in the system. 
Nigerians are still abandoning these shores and emigrating in droves. Those remaining are beginning to feel that both the nation, and its democracy have failed them and perhaps their best hope lies elsewhere. The promised change is yet to materialise and it’s difficult to foresee a time when government shall revert to high-key celebrations for the people.  Two years from now the nation will go to the polls. In the next 365 days, come Oct 1st 2018, government should give all Nigerians good reason for “high-key” independence celebrations. All Nigerians must be able to feel the impact of self-governance and celebrate the advantages of nationhood. If not, then there may just be no celebrations at all for APC come the 2019 elections! 

57 and counting - Lets change key Reviewed by Blessing Admin on 00:55 Rating: 5

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