Nigeria @60: Restructuring, Biafra Agitation, 2023 Presidency; Where are we are going as a Nation? – Johnpaul Anih
On a day like this exactly 60 years ago, Nigeria was on a festive and historic mood. It was the eve of October 1st 1960, the day the United kingdom granted Nigeria Independence as a sovereign state.
Political and Social atmosphere was astir, given the dream of the founding fathers Late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe ( owelle of Onitcha), late sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Obafemi Awolowo among others, as well as what the prospect of self rule portended for the emerging black Nation.
Although the then three regions Northern, Eastern and Western had been administered as premiers for six years, Nigerians could not wait to collect a mantle of leadership at the center from the last British Governor General of Nigeria Sir. James Roberston. It was thus not surprising that elaborate preparations were made across the country for the historic occasion. They were joy and anxiety as Nigerians stormed the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos to witness and pertake in the celebration.
In the jubilant crowd were students, cultural dancers, acrobats, masquerades, policemen in their choreographed manner, fanned out to provide security, with memory etching displays from the various groups and fireworks that Lit up the sky. It was indeed a wonderful sight to behold.
Independence parties were not limited to the then capital city of Lagos in the Western regions, other parts or regions of the country also organized events to ursher in Independence, but that of Lagos was the biggest. Then, only very few Nigerians had television sets to be part of the celebration, many people headed for the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos, While the first prime minister Sir. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa expressed his joy for the newly liberated Nation.
National Anthem was sung, and the Nigerian flag designed by Taiwo Akinkunmi in 1951, was hoisted to replace the British Union Jack.
Later in the morning, the queen of England Elizabeth II represented by her cousin Princess Alexander of Kent, formally handed over the Constitutional instrument to the prime Minister, Sir. Abubakar Tafawa Balewa.
Herbert Macaulay, the grandson of Bishop Ajai Crowther, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Anthony Enahoro among others cannot be left out in the history that pre-empted the emergence of Nigeria as a sovereign entity.
Looking back in time and following the path of history, one may begin to wonder if we deviated from the aspirations of the Nation’s founding fathers.
Uptill now, Nigeria is still battling with injustice, embezzlement of funds meant for the public, insurgency, Insecurity, politics of calumny, the issues of restructuring by the South easterners, electoral fraud to mention but a few.
To attain a bright land full of opportunities for all, government at all levels must not sweep under the carpet the issues of Biafra Agitation/restructuring which the Southeast have been yearning for, justice in the judicial Sector, freedom of the press and fairness in all ramification.
As Nigeria dangles into another political dispensation come 2023, South East must be given the opportunity to produce the next President for equity and fairness, while ‘sit tight’ Syndrome of most politicians must be discouraged.
As Nigeria celebrates another Independence day today, accountability must be demanded from our political office holders while other factors pointing at the Nation be looked into, if the current wind of corruption would stop.
To ensure one indivisible, indissoluble sovereign state, National cake must be shared equally and all aggrieved country men and women be summoned in a peaceful atmosphere for dialogue.
Let us join hands to preach and promote Peace.
- Johnpaul Anih.