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Date Published: 10/04/11

Nigeria at 51: What is there to celebrate? By Emenike Ikedichi Ubani


It has become a yearly ritual for our unresponsive rulers to roll out drums to celebrate Nigeria's independence from"fry pan to fire" every October 1st.It is of course a time for those in power to siphon millions of hard currency from the nation's purse through fictitious and bogus statement of account which will be written off as expenses made during the celebration. Today's celebration has however taken a low keyed dimension,thanks to last year twin bomb blast at the independence celebration at the Eagle square,Abuja in which a lot of lives were lost.And of course,the terrorist group,Boko Haram which have stepped up their game with suicide bombing.In view of this,the lackluster government of president Jonathan has decided to hide in Aso Rock villa to celebrate.Who says the fear of Boko haram and bombs is not the beginning of wisdom?As usual,the president will address the long suffering public and read a speech laced with the usual promise of better things ahead.The same words we have been hearing from different leaders since we had our independence from the Britain about five decades ago.We are like Moses,we hear about the promised land all the time but we may not get to it in our life time.At least not with these set of corrupt leaders.Nigerian leaders are good at making speeches but they fail when it come to the practical aspect.To be a politician in Nigeria,you must have a sugar coated tongue in other to deceive the public with your fake promises.And they go away scot free with their antics because we are too docile and timed to challenge them.We bear the pains and humiliation with resignation because we are afraid to speak out lest we be killed or committed to jail.No wonder,we have the appellation of the "happiest people on earth".And as the late music maestro"Fela"would say in one of his songs,we are always suffering and smiling.They preach to us of the need to be "patriotic citizens"while our commonwealth is looted and stashed in oversea banks vault.

Our economy is improvised while our wealth is used to improve the economy of other countries.In the past five decades,nothing has changed,it is still the same people in charge,the baton keeps changing from one corrupt government to another.It is still the same old story across the country,no light,no good roads,government hospitals are not better than chemists for those who have the coverage to seek treatment there,no jobs for millions of graduates which the ill equipped universities keep churning out yearly.A country that has dilapidated infrastructure and where the rural areas are still in the stone age.Security is non existent,the only security available is for those in power.A nation blessed with much crude oil but still imports finished petroleum products because the president lacks the balls to fight the cabal holding the nation to ransom.Universities are on strike because the government can not honour its agreement with ASUU.Workers are on strike in various states because the people they voted into power think eighteen thousand naira minimum wage is too much for them.But these same governors feed fat on their collective common wealth through bogus and inflated contracts,outright looting of the treasury and unnecessary millions in the name of security votes which can not be justified by any rational mind.At the same time,those in the National and state assemblies earn bloated salaries and allowances.That is the irony of life in Nigeria,"monkey dey work while baboon dey chop".As usual,we continue to delude ourselves that things will get better,but it keep getting worse with each passing day.The only people who have a reason to celebrate today are the political class who feed fat on us.So,what are we celebrating?Someone,please,tell me.

Emenike Ikedichi Ubani


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