Democracy Day: Rediscovering Our Heritage

Historically, our founding fathers like Herbert Macaulay, Dr. Nnamidi Azikiwe, and Tafawa Balewa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Anthony Enahoro laid a lasting legacy that is unforgettable. These patriots and were men of integrity and not tainted by corruption and selfish desires to amass wealth for them themselves.

However, daunting the challenge of unseating the then ruling white and their black collaborators, who chiefly benefits their own pockets, who believed we were not yet ripe for self-rule, they were undeterred and therefore gave up all to risk their lives for the mother land. While the dividend of independence was giving to us on a platter of gold on the other hands this generation is less considering how best to promote the nationalists’ legacy.

Hitherto, in spite the return of democracy over nearly two decades ago nothing has really changed in terms of inclusive development. A situation where kangaroo elections were conducted and often marred with discrepancies in the final outcome is leaving much to be desired and, however, the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer is worrisome.

In fact, the attitude of these aspirants we are voting for is questionable. Because they do not count on the electorates as a launching pad that could secure them a pass into the corridors of power but only on manipulation, intimidation, subjugation and coercion as a mechanism.

Furthermore, the so-called politicians are so desperate that it has become a do-or-die affair to gain power because the spoils are enormous and the players are desperate.

The former foremost President Dr Nnamidi Azikiwe got to the United State of America by spending all his many years of savings on fare, and at a time he almost committed suicide over despair about life, simply because he was stranded; however, were it not for a good white Samaritan overseas that was god-sent to the poor but promising young man. The stories of these so-called heroes of our dear country were not different from the one I just narrated.

Different strokes for different folks, they say. Meanwhile, the youths are not left out in the backwardness of the most populous black nation, as it is.

The majority of our youths are lost in the world of entertainments because of quick money they can get thereby. Also, sport is another endeavour that has preoccupied our leaders of tomorrow.  Virtually, every youth is identified with one foreign football club or the other at the detriment of our local football league here at home. Thus, this still leaves us subservient to our former imperialists abroad.

Thus, one wonders is there hope for this country?

During my research over the years, I found out that these great men never got to where they were by sudden flight but toiled and laboured while their companions slept to give us independence, at the risk of their lives and sales of their valuables.

The competitive and independent development among the federating units was monumental. As the regional governments did not go cap in hand to the center to collect federal allocations was laudable at the time. Then, every region was running smoothly with minimal hindrance or interference from the federal government which made one wonder and wished that such glory days can be recreated at a flip of coin.

Moreover, the achievements of the nationalists’ spoke volume of their matchless exploits in the areas of infrastructural facilities such as the South Western first television service in the whole of Africa, as at the time of emancipation of different territories from the clutches of the foreign imperialists that had held us bound for so long.

Besides, the cocoa and palm oil was the windfall as at then, thus making South West region envy of all other regions. The coal mining industry that generated whooping revenue for the Eastern region was another. The groundnut pyramid situated in Kano was also source of revenue generation for the Northern region. However, these were among many other innumerable services created to jump start the nation as a full fledging nation that could stand side by side with any developing nation as at the time.

The proceeds from all these revenues were channeled to free education, free health care and provision of social amenities like water supply for the benefits of the common man.

So, what is the way forward?

It is high time we challenged and rose up against these canker-worms that is eating deep into our polity and destined nation through change of attitude of every politician. Besides, each aspiring politician should be enrolled in a leadership course before they can stand for any election where they would be taught values such as integrity as a quality of a good leader. Moreover, youth should be encouraged to reconsider and prioritize their ways in order to make a difference for better tomorrow.

John F. Kennedy said, “You do not think of what your country would do for you but rather think of what you can do for what your country.“

However, late President Sheu Yar’Adua said in the 70’s, “We are one nation, one destiny.”

So, self-development of Small and Medium scale Enterprise is the answer (SMSE).

In other words, the answer is not far-fetched because Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American philosopher equally said, “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us is a tiny matter to what lies within us.”

In conclusion, as our dear nation celebrates her next independence, it is expedient that we carve a niche for ourselves and our posterity yet unborn. However, this is achievable by looking inward and discovering who we are and what we are born to do.

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