It’s been the subject of the weekend in Nigeria, and more especially in Abuja. President Goodluck Jonathan and the Nigerian government celebrating the Centennial anniversary of Nigeria. i.e 100 years since Northern and Southern Nigeria was amalgamated to become the country it is today. It’s important to note that this is not 100 years of independence, but just 100 years of the British government putting together both North & South Colonies of Nigeria to be ruled under one government.
With that being said let’s get into 6 reasons why Nigeria should not be celebrating this landmark, and quite frankly why it’s embarrassing to the world that we are celebrating it.
1. It’s A Stupid Idea
Now let me just say that yes, it is a landmark occasion, and one that is worth noting down and acknowledging. But that’s as far as it should go. All sensible countries celebrate their independence, and count from that date to give a numerical age to their country. What we are celebrating here is the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates by Lord Lugard and the British government done purely for the purposes of exploiting and milking the resources of Nigeria in a more efficient fashion. The fact is Nigeria was never born out shared ideals of a common people, but pretty much to fulfill a business requirement at the expense of the indigenous people, and we still suffer the consequences today, but we have to live with that, and it’s a part of our history we cant escape.
However the fact that the Nigerian government sees fit to celebrate shows that they are either void of serious thinking, or think Nigerians are daft. When African Americans celebrate freedom they celebrate the day slavery was abolished. Think how silly it’ll be if they celebrated the 300 year anniversary of when the first slave ship landed on American soil.
2. Boko Haram
In a period where Boko Haram is running free in Northern Nigeria and causing havoc all over the place, the last thing on most Nigerian’s mind should be celebrating a landmark that is insignificant when there are pretty a mini war going on in Borno & Yobe State. This centennial celebration comes just days after 43 young children were murdered in a Federal secondary school in Yobe State, and 20 girls abducted. However when you turn on NTA news you see former heads of state smiling, drinking, dancing and giving themselves awards. Now think about how a mother who lost her children in that school would feel when she sees her leaders, whose primary job is to protect the citizens of the country, smiling and laughing while she mourns her deceased children. It’s one thing not to care about your citizens, but it’s insulting to throw it in their faces. It’s despicable.
3. $20 billion missing from NNPC & public looting continues…
Money missing in Nigeria is really not anything new, but the latest incident is quite staggering, and it highlights the fact that corruption is still at an all time high in Nigeria. So we go back to the question, What exactly are we celebrating? The people responsible for the missing money have not been found, and if we’re honest with ourselves will probably not be caught either. 100 years later the public coffers are still being looted and citizens paying the price, but this time we suffer at the hands of our own and not the British.
4. Money could be used for other things
Probably one of my biggest issues with this is the money being spent on this celebration. Last time I checked Nigeria still had issues with road, power, water and most importantly security. By the time the amount spent on this celebration surfaces I’m sure we’ll see this event would’ve cost Nigeria hundreds of millions of Naira easily. Afterall we’ve already spent 72 million on a cake before, so just imagine how much this “celebration” has cost Nigeria, and then think about what else this money could’ve done to improve Nigeria. Roads, security in Federal schools, maybe even just tarring the roads in Abia, or putting a working water system in a small town.
5. Honoring past leaders that joined in ruining Nigeria
I look at pictures of the centennial celebration, and I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry. Awards being handed out to Babangida, Abacha’s wife, honoring Lord Lugard etc, and I think to myself “Not only are we celebrating something so stupid, but we’re honoring people that have helped ruin the country.” It almost feels like a big joke. “Hey we’re going to celebrate with ourselves and you have to watch us, cos quite frankly we don’t give a a damn about you or your feelings.” That’s the message that sends me.
6. There are much bigger issues to resolve
The long and short of this my long spill here is that there are bigger issues to resolve. The Nigerian government have perfected the art of deflecting real issues by throwing irrelevant things in our faces. Create the anti-gay law and while we discuss, then do something behind our backs. Maybe they wont notice 20 billion is missing, or maybe they wont notice we just increased fuel price, and if they complain too much, start talking about child brides to distract them.
There are bigger issues to fry in Nigeria, and besides the fact that this idea is quite silly, one gets the feeling that while we’re busy discussing if this is a good thing or not, some under the table things are happening that we’ll find a minute too late. The fact is Nigeria has many issues on its hands and celebrating 100 years of amalgamation should not be one of them.
I’m no political expert or analyst or any of that sort. I’m just a regular Nigerian that just sees it as it is. Peace.