By; BALA B. B
Though what used to be Southern Protectorate and the Northern Protectorate were merged in 1914 to form an entity later to be called Nigeria, the entire fold (Nigeria) became a British protectorate in 1901.
The colonization of Nigeria by the British lasted for 59 years, from 1901 until 1960, when political independence was conceded to Nigeria on October 1st, 1960 by the colonial government.
At independence, there was so much hope and aspirations for a good government, self determination and prayers for a peaceful and prosperous country. Our founding fathers hit the ground running as the march into nationhood began therefrom.
However, whatever we had garnered from our pre independence period and from the immediate post independent Nigeria, we must have squandered it so speedily. Even a profligate couldn’t have been more prodigal and wasteful.
Our gains over time as a sovereign state have impacted merely on our political independence. We have had governments over governments including military regimes with little to show from the successive governments. Yes, of what use is political independence without economic viability, without social stability and security for all?
Our pace as a sovereign state have been stunted, compromised by nepotism, corruption and mismanagement even as our strides have suffered procrastination, policy truncation, summersaults, disconnection, lack of political will and of commitment to pursue development and growth in the true sense of the word.
At a time, we had touted ourselves as the giant of Africa. At some times, in our high days, the centre piece of our country’s foreign policy was on Africa as we prided ourselves to be the big brother, the defender and the colossus of the black race.
We had it all on a plater. From the mercies and goodwill of our colonial overlords, the providence of mother nature, the patriotism and goodness of our country’s founding fathers and more.
So rather than go to work to add more on the foundation block for a state that all would be proud of, those who took over the mantle from the forerunners and heroes, either went on winning and dining or chose to rest before the work that laid ahead.
Basking in the euphoria of having got political independence, Nigeria saw itself as having arrived. Our concern was not the resources to grow with but how to spend it. So the country went on a spending spree of hosting Africa and the rest of the world in what was tagged FESTAC, and other jamboree elephant projects instead of sawing.
The country surreptitiously took on titles and insignias such as “Giant of Africa”, “Africa’s Big Brother”, “Giant In The Sun”, “Nigeria; Africa’s Melting Pot” etc, etc.
But beyond the half way line, midway into our march into nationhood, where have all such prefixes, clichés and self glorifications melted into?
They appeared to have gone with the times as quick as our status have diminished and our pride punctured steadily, over time.
Have our days of glory ended no sooner after our independence? How did we lose our steam in our strides? Indeed, how the mighty had fallen!
Now that it has got to the stage for our leaders to voluntarily compare Nigeria with lowly and poorly rated countries as Tchad, Niger` Ghana and may be soon, Togo, Nigeria may soon be on it’s way to self disqualification and discrediting.
The hues and cries over worsening state of affairs, growing insecurity to lives and properties, a wobbling economy, poor administrative acumen and bad leadership in the country are not flukes.
Despondency is on the rise. Disaffections and divisions within the polity are growing threats to our fledging democracy and unstable polity.
The quietude in most places today is not of good. Of course, a graveyard’s silence portends lots of ominous things. Beneath the earth crust, lays the sleepless ghosts of many who are troubled to strives.
There is sorrow in the land but the leadership of the state are blind and deaf. Such insensitivity only creates huge gulf between the rulers and the ruled, between leaders and the led, between government and the governed especially those in the ungoverned spaces.
A country where millions are sliding onto, and below the red lines of poverty and malnutrition on near daily basis, a people who are edging into lack in quantum droves, the options of delving into crime(s) and committing suicide becomes a matter of compulsory choice between the two for many.
For citizens who were around at independence, and for many born at post independence and even those who came around two, three decades after 1960, the Nigeria of yesteryears was a country in luxury, a peaceful state and a country at buoyancy than what it has depreciated into in the last six years especially.
Concerns over the state of the country today is increasing as Nigeria is plunging into the abyss. But those at the control and management centres of the country do not seems to be aware.
Cost of living has skyrocketed, hitting the roofs. Electricity and energy supplies are not only high but in terribly sorry states. Food and other essential needs are inaccessible to many households.
Public utilities are either moribund or non existing. Road infrastructure are at best, albatross to vehicles and road users. Roads across the country are unnavigable death traps and disasters waiting to happen.
Today, here is Nigeria, sixty years old but unclad in many ways, laying prostate, battered by insurgency, torn apart by criminal band of sophisticated kidnappers, armed bandits, a cult of ritualist, international advanced fee fraudsters, political thieves in a failed state. ~~~~~~