Nigeria @63, can we breathe?

Is reciting the National Anthem by force?

Akì í mú ìbọn tetere. One does not hold a gun carelessly. (Always be careful in handling dangerous matters.)

need for a Nigerian Consciousness  

What about the hope

What about the promise you made to the poor

How you gwan joke

How you gwan vote

 

What about the hike in the

And the levy now the man he can’t cope

Now the man smoke

To hide away from all the pain

So he no drown from a boat

Or hang from a rope

How you gwan choke a man down and then tell him say

Let the poor breathe

You hold a man down and tell ’em say

Let the poor breath

Big man control all the money

And you can’t even let the poor feed

 

You hold a man down and tell him say

Let the poor breathe, breathe.

Some people say we get the kinds of leader we deserving

The type of fools who like to rule instead of serving

But what I know is a good leader is a servant

The type who feel the pain of people who are hurting

Who are hurting.

 

I am certain

One day the youth will find a way to do the purging

And take Babylon system with their burden

 

Baba this no be prayer

This is just a warning

Day by day three things I pray

Baba give me conscience to talk sense

No be nonsense and call am content

And Baba let my whole generation get sense

 

What about the hope

What about the promise you made to the poor

How you wan joke

How you wan vote

What about the hike in the

And the levy now the man he can’t cope

Now the man smoke

To hide away from all the pain

So he no drown from a boat

Or hang from a rope

How you gwan choke a man down and then tell him say

Let the poor breathe

You hold a man down and tell ’em say

Let the poor breath

 

Big man represent the poor man

But you don’t even know what the poor need

You hold a man down and tell him say

Let the poor breathe, breathe.

E be like say dem take all our sense

And money put am inside kolo

Use division, tribe religion, lead us we dey follow

Knack our heads together now we be like we on colos

On colos, on colos, on colos

Now we on colos

 

But the solution  dey our hand cos na we matter

E for better make love unite us than to scatter

So all of my people Weymouths think say japa na the answer

No worry go but when we call you, you must answer

You must show cause day by day three things I pray

Baba give me joy

Baba give me long life and soft life

And all the people wey dey use corruption to cut life

Baba you know nah, Baba you know

Cobhams Asuquo

 

As we mark our 63rd independence anniversary, all is not well with our beloved nation Nigeria. This in itself is no news, given the fact that the phrase “all is not well” has become a popular refrain in recent years.

Can all be well then, sometime in the future; is it possible that as a nation, Nigeria, can still find character and strength to hold her head up, remains a million naira question.

For a nation that has completely lost its sense of rage, the norm has become abnormal, the abnormal, so normal, and a way of life. What holds sway are deviant attitudes supported by an elite leadership well disconnected from a docile populace.

At 63 years old, ASUU may soon go on strike, education is on the decline, the system gradually collapsing, and yet no rage. We try to find the character through phrases such as transformation, 1 million-point agenda, re-engineering, redemption, Changi Dole, renewed hope, and all such catchwords, good people, great nation, but the truth is that silently the underdevelopment of our nation continues in almost all spheres.

We are 63 years old, and we are not outraged at how we have suddenly become a nation that produces god of men rather than men of God, pastors with several aircraft, while the congregation is hoodwinked with prosperity classes, Islamic scholars turned Talibans debating the text of the koran weekly but barely following the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed PBUH.

I went to a public school, Archbishop Aggrey Memorial Secondary School, it was situated in a Lagos suburb called Mushin, I was taught the English Language in Yoruba, for it to sink in, and properly understood. There was a semblance of character then; because it was part of the much-touted good days…it was not old. Then it was a burden to spend 50 kobo. One naira had value, we were able to breathe!

We studied Islamic Religious Knowledge and Christian Religious Knowledge as they were both called irrespective of your faith. On Fridays, the morning assembly included the Juma’at service led by Mr. Salami, everyone participated, and we had character. There was breath irrespective of one’s faith!

We have not lost our rage. It simply left… The economy is near the doldrums in Europe, and other parts of the world, but Nigeria with the potential to do what China is doing or translate into some African Alsatian if we cannot become tigers is suffocating under a forex crisis, with the Naira unable to breathe. We removed subsidies to please them, they keep their own as safety nets for their citizens. Pharaohs, Nebuchadnezzars, and Goliaths masquerading everywhere.

We have been constantly and consistently marking our independence on the lowkey for the last decade, this year we are even begging labor unions to let the government breathe and the unions are asking the government to allow the people to breathe; the people do not trust labor, and the chess game goes on, and the only reason the poor man has not committed suicide is because he cannot even afford the rope.

There is no outrage that a governor appoints 1,070 political aides, among them hundreds of special assistants and dozens of senior special assistants whose salaries and other perks would cost the state several millions.

At 63, we are still serving dinner with the perennial guests; corruption, nepotism, abandoned projects, lack of infrastructure, bloated government, insecurity, and lack of decisive will in governance. We battle to renegotiate our collective existence as a nation, and confidence in government is divided. It is either the government has no commitment and has the ability, or its ability is never matched with commitment.

With all these, there is no outrage, we go ahead like all is well, feeding on our false resilience. Hoping against hope, we keep holding the gun of nationhood carelessly.

The Yorubas say ‘Ohun méjì ló yẹ Ẹ̀ṣọ́: Ẹ̀ṣọ́ jà, ó lé ogun; Ẹ̀ṣọ́ jà ó kú sógun’, meaning that only two things are proper for a warrior: the warrior goes to war and drives the enemy off; the warrior goes to war and dies in battle. Would there be a Nigeria, in the next 63 years, and what would it look like, what do we want as Nigerians, how do we want it, and when do we want it, let us breathe so that—Nigeria may win

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