Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Afro Beat Remembers

Today marks the 9th Year of "Democracy" in Nigeria and a full year of the Yar'Adua administration. Thanks to encouragement from bloggers like Nigerian Curiosity, constantly thinking of creative ways to unite Nigerian (African) bloggers on common issues that make us tick, I'm dedicating this post to the memory of the initial advent of democracy (independence) and my hope for Nigeria in the next 50 years.


PART 1: Reflections of a Tired yet Optimistic Mother on the BUILDING of Nigeria - Independence.
(This part was cut abruptly short as my mother typed away on her email and NEPA struck before she could save the later part of this write-up...how apt! Thanks Mum!)


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My memory of 1st October 1960 is an easily recalled part of my memory.

Days leading to it were like expectations of a great party. I was 7 years old and in primary 3. There was clearing up of the school grounds and rehearsals for the ‘march’. We were to be on our best behaviour and wear our best uniforms for the Independence Day celebrations.

At home, at my mother’s beer parlour where men gathered most evenings, there were loud arguments about the handing over of government. Not that I understood the discussions but their loudness and laughter, (especially as the men got more alcohol in their systems) signaled the coming of a great event. I thought independence would be one long celebration.

We lived in a small village divided in two by the Ogun River in the old Western state . It was a small village and while the men on one side were mostly farmers, those on the other side were fishermen. I did not know much about the villagers other than that some of their children were my school mates. There was however government presence in the village- the Boys’ approved School (a reformatory) of which my father was the Principal during this period. So there was also a lot of preparations as the boys prepared for the “march past” for the celebrations and visitors to the school which had a white lady as head visitor.

On that day, all pupils received branded cups, plates and the green white green flag which to us was the symbol of our independence. The flag was hoisted that day and we religiously sang to it everyday from then on. It was usual to see it proudly displayed in peoples’ parlours. There was feasting at school, at the town hall and everywhere.

In those early days, we marched round the village once a week to spread the message of free education for all by Awolowo and encourage the villagers to allow their children come to school before they joined them on the farms in the afternoon.

I bet the current state of the nation is a nightmare for the men and women of the 60s. At Independence they had a dream of a great Nigeria: now that is a dream deferred.
If we take a cue from the developments in Lagos State in the past year. I believe the good old days will return but at a price...ARE WE SET TO PAY?

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Part 2: Hope for the Future

In addition to a Nigeria with all the "basics" of a developed country (civil peace, quality education, functional healthcare system, social security, state-of-the-art infrastructure, environment that spurs entrepreneurship and innovation), my hope for Nigeria in 2058 is for a Nigeria that celebrates its internal differences but stands united in the pursuit of a Nigerian dream - be it "Pursuit of Happiness", "Liberty & Justice for All", "Equality & Fraternity". Beyond the semantics, today, as a nation, we need something to inspire us, something (a sort of call to arms/ action) that can rally Nigerians from around the world, from the grassroots up, to think beyond themselves and begin the task of actually RENOVATING this nation.

What is that common thing that makes us tick/ jump into action? I would say Injustice Against the Helpless, but we as a people have become jaded by our leaders' "misactions" in that department, I'm not too sure that still holds.

Hope for our Children's Future? Traditionally, Africans worked to enable their children's prosperity, so as to ensure theirs in old age. And for those who weren't wealthy in monetary terms, they would work hard to bequeath an honourable name their children could at least be proud of. Though this varies from ethnic group to ethnic group, I believe that this is still something that most Africans still value, though the "honourable name" part has been supplanted by the quest for material wealth - a new sort of "Get rich or die trying" mentality reigns today.

True, with the growing wave of emmigration from Nigeria, many of our children will have some place else to call home, but will it ever really be 100% their true home? Perhaps. However, they deserve more. They deserve a choice. A choice to call Nigeria home. If for the sake of our children alone, Nigerians can come together to begin to work towards RENOVATING our nation, together with our leaders, then I think we stand a chance. If not, tAB will be commemmorating Democracy Day in 2058 with a similar post, as though none of this ever really was.

What's your hope/vision for Nigeria in 2058? What legacy do you want Nigeria to be for your children? Happy Democracy Day!


20 comments:

Waffarian said...

Hope for the children....

Indeed! I don't know why that made me so sad...How I wish everyone would think like this! I guess that would be my hope for Nigeria...that there would be more people like you...that is all I want, for people to wake up and start thinking...what are we leaving behind? And for them to understand the importance of leaving the world better than we found it.

naijalines said...

It's just sad that almost 48 years after independence, we've only got 9 years of democracy. Here's hoping Nigeria never loses it's democracy.

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Hhhmmm. Are we set to pay the price? That is giving me chills. But, I believe we must for the benefit of our children. May god help us achieve the dream.

Thank you for doing this. My mom is apparently camera shy, lol! Will have her put her thoughts to paper instead.

After talking to you on Monday, I had a visit from the respected father of a prominent Nigerian American football player. His stories about his recent trip to Nigeria were troubling. Anyway, I mentioned the question you asked me about values and his words, well they were chilling as well.

Anyway, thank you for always being a source of inspiration. God bless you and your family! Stay safe.

Oz (omodudu) said...

This anniversary is a stark reminder of hopes and dreams that have gone the same ole way in Nigeria. This time last year I was so hopeful and with the Nigerian proclamation thing I had a sense of "our time has finally come". Personally I thought the general mood had changed for good. But 365 days later, after lots of flip flopping, debates and distractions like Ettehgate, I am on the verge of declaring citizenship for Burundi. (Yes as far as I can get away from Nigeria). Yardie has disappointed us. I remember writing up so many "give Yardie a fair chance" posts. I'd try to put mark (with a thumbs down) the day.

Sherri said...

Happy Democracy day!
despite the stark realities, am still very hopeful!

i salute u for ur efforts, looking forward to that glorius day when it yields the desired fruits (grining)

how's the move going?

ablackjamesbond said...

My Pastor was in my house a few days ago and e got talking abt the Nigerian situation. We both rued the missed opportunity that 1999 presented to us as a nation.

He told me about a young man he advised on a career change. The guy was a generator technician. My pastor was so confident that the power sector was going to be fixed within the first dispensation.

How wrong he was? The good thing was that the young man didnt listen to him. Thankfully.

Check out my post on my dreams and aspirations on naija on :

http://ablackjamesbond.com/?p=54

E go better!

Doja said...

For me I would like to see first and fore most a Nigeria where the human right of everyone is respected.

guerreiranigeriana said...

well done...you and waffarian have covered most of them...i really hope for a place where our collective nigerian and respective ethnic cultures are exalted and honored over western ideals and culture...that my children can also be chased by masquerade during christmas or speak their language...those beautiful and positive aspects of our rich culture that we too willingly relinquish in favor of outside ideals/culture...

...i wonder too if people are really ready to pay the price/bear the cost the change we're asking for requires...

notjustok said...

wow! you put a lot of effort and thought into this post... the question you asked at the end is very thought provoking... very good post...

Naijachic said...

Hmm, first of all...I've missed this blog!!!

Mumsie gave her experience? waoh, thst's good food for thought as I am going to ask mine for hers as well...teh questions is thought provoking - are we ready to pay the price? This is one very expensive price to pay as it will tax every nerve from us but if we want change/progress, we must pay it, more impoortantly we must be ready/prepared to pay.

Naijachic said...

Hmm, first of all...I've missed this blog!!!

Mumsie gave her experience? waoh, thst's good food for thought as I am going to ask mine for hers as well...teh questions is thought provoking - are we ready to pay the price? This is one very expensive price to pay as it will tax every nerve from us but if we want change/progress, we must pay it, more impoortantly we must be ready/prepared to pay.

TheAfroBeat said...

Sorry I've been out of it my people!! Currently in Lagos, Nigeria, paying the price of no NEPA, no NITEL, no planning by Ministry of Works & Housing (or whoever plans the roads these days), but as always it's good to be home!

I sometimes THINK I'm willing to pay this price if I can see the light at the end of the rainbow for me and mine! Collectively, it'll be harder to convince those who were born paying the price and still pay it today, while others continue to enjoy the spoils...

Doja said...

Okay I was going to say 'why cant I hear the beat'.

Naapali said...

tAB where are you? We miss you and would like you back, tout de suite!

Atutupoyoyo said...

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore-- And then run?

O, Brother, where art thou? I heard on the grapevine that you have relocated somewhere. What a gwan?

Jinta said...

a disaster in that our 9 years of democracy were as mad as 39 of military rule. what a shame...and we have the same players that have been there since day 1, albeit some by proxy through children and god'fatherism.

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Desperately seeking an update...

nneoma said...

you've been tagged....check out the rules at my blog....http://pyoowata.blogspot.com/2008/06/some-quirky-things.html

NigerianDramaQueen said...

My hope for Nigeria is more democracy, less selfish leaders, a functioning pension system, a better education system, a revision of the constitution, a power/electrical system that works, home-owned refineries...and the list goes on! Here's to 9 years of democracy anf progress..and many more!

Anonymous said...

I think 'Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress', is as good a dream as any to have - all we need to do is work towards it.