Irony Of Independence Anniversary – By Olowo Olagunju


My little boy out of his inquisitiveness and curiousiity asked about the significance of recent Independence anniversary holiday and many other childish but instructive questions. I fathom best way to retort without mincing words I told him to arm himself with pen and paper since I did not want him to hear or read it from the angle of distorted historian with parochial mindset.

I open briefly the window of Nigerian history, how various nations, emirates and empires were merged for British ulterior interests regardless of natives custom and tradition. I told him about several round table discussions that led to Nigeria independence in 1960 with the actors that championed the cause and those that finally achieved the liberation from colonial rule.

When he enquired about the difference between the British (white) and African (black). I told him the difference is crystal clear. That apart from colour, orientation, belief and mentality set both apart. I gave him some instances.

I told him about Robert Mugabe the President of Zimbabwe who has been  rulling the country since 1980 first as Prime Minister and latter elected in 1987 as president and since then he remains in power even as a nonagenarian.

I made another reference to the last absolute monarch, king Mswati III of Swaziland who married his 15th wife, an 18-year old beautity pageant contestant. Mswati is just 45 and the tendency of marrying more wives is possible in nearer future.

I told him about some Judges in Ghana who subverted judgement because of tuber of yams and goats bribe. I noticed his rapt attention and speedy jottings, I now extended the instance to the much publicised Halliburton bribery scandal where the  indicted culprits were white and black characters, the former was jailed for the scandal and the latter walks Nigerian cities freely and latter honuored with national award and traditional titles. When he enquired why, I told him, distance and setting of event are different that what is unethical in US for exemple can be ethical in Nigeria.

I painted the picture of governance in a civilised clime by drawing inference from former US President Bill Cliton and other past US presidents who strictly adhere to use 4-8 years constitutional allowed period without plan to amend the legal statute to give way for third term. Put together, Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton in addition with their dog do not worth 5Million dollars.

I told him about Nigerian leaders after more than five decades of independence still visit Washington, Paris and London before they take decisions. I let him understand how Nigerians and other African countries relegated their culture and tradition through total immitation of western way of life. I told him how desperate Nigerians are to be like Americans and Europeans in their writing, speaking, music and dressing.

I told him of some Nigerians who have never been to the Niger-Delta creek before having oil wells and how their villages and local government councils lack water wells and boreholes. I reminded him of one of our visits to Benue state, Otukpo Local Government Council, where we suffered for drinking water and was excommunicated for our 3-days visits as result of lack communication networks in the area we visited. I told him the same local government have had Governors since 1999, local government chairmen and a number three citizen (senate president), who owns a country house with helicopter and helipad at the top is a product of this area.  I pinpointed to some politicians who by virtue of public office have amass wealth that are surplus to their needs and I told him the consequences of such actions to include sectional restivesness such as Niger-Delta and Boko-Haram, out of the school children, mulnutition, infrastructural decay, etc. I told him how

leadership of this country then aided and abetted such act by reconceptualizing corruption to exclude stealing.

I told him about a Nigerian President who wants to come to equity with “dirty hands”. I told him how some Governor looted their states to support the cause of the anti-corruption crusader. I reminded my son that these individuals despite public vilification have now been elevated as potential ministers to champion the change Nigerian so desire. My little boy call it an irony but I corrected him to use the word aberration instead.

I told him how Nigerian laws operate and gave instance of a poor hungry man who stole a tuber of yam and got his hand amputated and the misery of a top notch citizen who stole Billions of police pension funds at the expense of old retired police officers who have served Nigeria meritoriously.

I reminded him about the anti-corruption body EFCC, the hunter who is now the hunted with conspicuous and convincing evidence linking the body to gross misconduct and corruption allegation.

When I noticed my son mood is beginning to change and I sensed anger and rage in him, I quickly changed the topic to his favourite discussion to serve as comic relief. I reminded him how Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo have been dominating the world football for close to a decade without any go-between. I noticed his hidden smile and I told him to apply a full stop mark to his note taking while I stop the narration for another festive period. I hope this little son will not nurse any misconception about Nigeria and Africa, but in truth, this is the real picture except anyone wants to play politics.

Please don’t mind the diction! It is a mere father to son narration. The language for a child needs not be terse. The views express here are strictly that of the author’s views.

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