Some of my friends and mentors apparently asked me to say something about Nigeria’s independence @55 today. Their requests were lucidly coincidental to my post yesterday that promised something dropping today. Please I crave everyone’s indulgence to read through and either confirm or repudiate the facts and suggestions as stated. I love you all.
Question: (1) What do we celebrate at age 55?
(2) How do we celebrate at age 55?
(3) Where do we celebrate at age 55?
The above questions are the focal points of the post and would be concisely but substantially answered unbiased.
Answer (1): The 55 year old man must have undergone series of life events on both a positive and negative scale and as such, must have understood his past, present and future actions. In this sense, he is said to have attained full maturity and even if he dies, could still very much be celebrated by his people save to his escapades. At 55, the Nigerian nation as a conglomeration of different nations summing 250 should be celebrating its resilience and tact having kept this solidarity hitherto. It should also be celebrating its victories and paradoxically, its defeats. Unknowingly to many, defeats usher in platforms for victories and also serve as radars to fashion out strategies for fetching more victories (as much as victory is to be celebrated, defeat should also be celebrated, as stated – “in all things give thanks to God”). Nonetheless, its celebration would be incomplete without how the celebration should be done.
(2) The only how that can be effective in defining this celebration is the how of critical reflection. I would prefer to go by itemising these hows.
(i) I have always said that Nigerians remain maliciously divided for a lack of common values, goals, aspirations and norms that should override the ones postulated by our ethnic, personal and religious differences. In this light, we lack a binding ideology that fosters a common good for the state.
(ii) For the above to be achieved, a critical reflection and reminder must be made and institutionally backed. It should be a time when the older generation and the government of the day would open up history and remind the younger generation of the forces, struggles and heroes that gave birth to this nation. We should celebrate at the feet of sociopolitical tutors that are grounded in the goals and visions of the Nigerian state and thus, relate them down to the citizenry to foster a common good and a common pursuit.
(ii) Families, churches, mosques, shrines and all other institutions of the Nigerian system must perfectly pass the concept of nationhood and sociopolitical cohesion to their members through messages that define and explain our national symbols, national heritage and expectations of the state on the citizens and vice-versa.
(iii) Citizens should not just sing the national anthem on this day but must be taught the inept meaning of each and every word comprising the both stanzas of the anthem and the national pledge.
(iv) Sociopolitical leaders and scholars must adopt a grassroot approach of meeting with the average citizen and creating a sense of belonging and personal security for them, and also through the best medium of communication ensure that the truth is being communicated regarding our nation (past, present and future).
(v) The eulogies of the faithfully departed that represented the green nation must stay on the lips of the living and their spirits rekindled alive on such a day.
(vi) The leaders must truthfully and emotionally seek the forgiveness of the masses over their wrongs and use the platform of the day to restate and pledge their commitments and loyalty to the people they lead. The masses must thus capitalise on this in the face of a contrary approach from the leaders any further.
Finally, there is no better place to carry out these activities than a pure heart whose blood must change from a normative red to a nationally green. The pure heart of every Nigerian be it the individual, group, community or wider society, is the best place for such a celebration.