FELLOW Nigerians, share with me the anguish that chairs my mind; let’s shed tears of sorrow over the death of Independence in Lord Lugard’s country which died long time ago — Nigeria’s Independence died not a peaceful death. Some men killed it. We know them but we have refused to tell the world. Trauma, distress, turbulence are what the killers have caused to every soul that dwells on the soil of my country. Prematurely, our Independence died after some very few years that it was born in Nigeria. Let us open the pages of history about our dear country in remembrance of the late Nigeria’s Independence.
The white men claimed to have come to lighten our darkness; whiten our blackness. They said we were unlettered and uncultured and so, they brought us bastard cultures and bastard literature. Because our eyes were on our kneels, they collected our goals and gave us gold. They said we should stop worshiping the gods of our ancestors. They introduced to us, a strange religion from a strange region of the world. Then, intimidation began, colonization followed, humiliation, victimization, dehumanization — all these dominated our nation of no notion. Slave trade was a legal business for the colonial tycoons. They saw us as a horse, huge in body but small in sense. So, they sent Lugard to come and reform our heal-formed area to become the ill-fated Nigeria.
When Lord Lugard arrived our land, he mechanically doctored the nuts and bolts; the front and back of our people and, in his book, The Dual Mandate, he unveiled his convictions about the sets of humans he was made to lead. His conviction about us goes thus: “In character and temperament, the typical African of this race-type is a happy, thriftless, excitable person. Lacking in self-control, discipline, and foresight. Naturally courageous, and naturally courteous and polite, full of personal vanity, with little sense of veracity, fond of music and loving weapons as an oriental loves jewelry….”.
In 1914, he metaphorically called the Northern people “a poor husband” and the Southern people “a rich wife”. He forcefully wedded both protectorates to form a country, so, we became a giant of bordello in Africa. His girl friend, Flora Shaw Lugard, proposed that we should be called Nigeria as a country and Nigerians as a people and so we are called. The demonic name, etymologically was truly coined from Latin to mean “the area of the black” or ” the area of darkness”. Between “black” and “darkness”, who can tell me which one depicts goodness or positiveness? Definitely, the name a child bears shall have effect on him. Lugard was a master in the science of evilness and the art of cruelty. He was the father of our mysterious country.
Our foremen, who were schooled by the devilish white men began to clamour for nationalism some years after Lugard was done with his own mission. Hebert Mecaulay was considered to be the founder of the Nigeria Nationalism and Nnamdi Azikwe as the fonder who took after him. Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Anthony Enahoro, Tafawa Balewa and other prominent Nigeria leaders joined in the agitation for self-governance rather than the so-called imperialism.
But then, our foremen were dullards in the school of the white men’s politics. All they wanted was power, self-regiment. The colonist never granted us Independence because of the agitation of our fathers. They only left because they felt they’ve perfected their plots. They knew our cohabitation was a marriage of inconvenience. So, they granted us a dependent Independence which they foretold would die young. They used the tactics of divide and rule on us and it worked.
In 1960, Independence was birthed. The country which Lord Lugard was the plotter was granted a palliative self-rule. The white men knew fully well that the horde of people dominating the domain of Nigeria would never live peacefully, so, they gave us a short-time Independence. The white men gave the ram of liberty to the masquerade of our leaders but refused to let go the leash. Isn’t it?
In 1966, the mouth of our dying Independence was put aground, when power began to intoxicate our leaders all over Nigeria. While the Northern leaders said the bronze ring of power was already secured in their priest’s finger and that they would see who on earth could remove it, the Southern leaders then, vowed that if the expropriated ring could not be removed they would then get the finger chopped off. Our unity was challenged. Power. Power. Power. Should we say Lord Lugard was right? He described a Nigerian as he “who loves the display of power, but fails to realize its responsibility. He will work hard with a less incentive than most races. He has the courage of the fighting animal, an instinct rather than a moral virtue…”.
We killed our Independence with our excessive love for power, over-personalization of political offices, tribalism, chauvinism and so on. The Igbos are battling with their “igboish” egoism. The Yorubas will always claim the kingdom of all wisdom and for the Hausas, they want to rule forever. We all love power. We killed our Independence by ourselves. The white men are politically good mathematicians, they calculated well, they were professors of their prophecies. All they want is to continue ruling and ruining us behind the veil. They gave us a dead Independence and instead of us to rejuvenate our freedom by mere oneness, and peaceful coexistence, we keep celebrating a dead Independence every 1st of October.
Ibrahim Adeyemi writes from Sokoto, Nigeria.