Celebrating Bronzy Diamond at 60

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By Eddy Odivwri

Hurray, we have come of age. Nigeria turned 60 yesterday. The nation was agog with celebration. The feeling is electrifying and ….

(cuts in) Which feeling feeling is electrifying? Where did you see the electric in the first place? Which place was agog? Was it Tafawa Balewa Square or was it Eagle Square?

Did you not watch all the parade and celebration at Eagle Square yesterday? Did you not see school children wearing white and green, waving the national flag? Didn’t you see the release of the eagles? Didn’t you see the fun and merry associated with such great ceremony?
In fact, the government has said the celebration will last for 365 days. You think it is a joke?

So, Mr Diamond, what is the jubilation all about?

Look, if you don’t know it, I will tell you: we need to pop all the champagne we can. The gift of life is awesome. Nigeria has survived too many ill-winds that have scattered many other countries. We survived the Nigerian civil war. We survived the June 12 crisis. We have been surviving the Boko Haram terror machine. We have been surviving all the ethnic bloodbaths. We have been surviving…

(cuts in) Stop orchestrating banality and inanity. You claim that you have been surviving Boko Haram? Really? Do you realize that Boko Haram has killed more people than the Nigerian civil war? Are you not aware that a whole governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, was attacked twice in 3 days by these same people you say you have been surviving? What about the 18 policemen, soldiers and civilian JTF that were not so lucky? And you are popping champagne? Yes, you are celebrating Diamond, but honestly, it looks like bronze. It is a Bronzy Diamond.
Cry Beloved Country!

Don’t be an insufferable ingrate. There is so much to thank God for. That Nigeria is still together as one entity is worth celebrating. Our size is our strength and our USP. No matter what you may say, we are a well-prized country. And we should be proud of our heritage.

You are dwelling on the dressed-up image. Not the inner content. If you look deeply, you’d see that the inner organs are writhing in pains, shrinking in size and getting vitiated. What is being presented to the world is a country freshly released from the studio of a creative make-up artist. The beauty and glitz is only skin-deep. It cannot be sustained for too long. Did you not hear the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and the Secretary to the Federal Government, Boss Mustapha recently expressing fears that the nation could break up?
My friend, I ask you: why would it not break up? Did you not hear of the recent recruitment by the Department of State Service (DSS) where the north got 535 slots while the entire south plus north central got 93 slots? Is that the country you are celebrating? Can’t you see the so-called size is a scissor? Is our togetherness not a pain and emotional harassment? How do you explain the lopsidedness of that recruitment exercise? Are we really one country? Where is equity? Where is fairness? And to know that the section that is less endowed is the region that gets the very best, always.

You are digressing from the issue on ground. Nigeria is in a festive mood. This is not time to bemoan our short-comings. There is no country without challenges. As Bob Marley would sing, Forget your sorrows and dance. It is dancing time. Nigeria is 60 ! Hey hey hey…, Ha Ha Ha…

After the dance, hunger will remind you that you have been seized by delusion. Darkness will wake you up and terrorists will smash you and your house. But if you escape them, kidnappers will wait for you at the next junction. So, dance on while you can! ( a long hiss).

Those who see the cup as half full instead of seeing it as half empty are those who make progress in life. The tendrils of the yam will still flourish whether or not yam beetles are in the
teething problems. We can see a new dawn. The government is doing everything to set Nigeria on the right path and a strong footing. We are…

(Cuts in) Could you spare me these your plastic hopes. At 60 you are just seeing a new dawn and you say we should be popping champagne. When will it be day break? Look at your mates: Look at Malaysia, Look at Brazil, Look at these smaller nations. Have they not left us behind? And you are here, reveling for a being a giant in mosquito legs!
Have you asked yourself why Nigerians have suddenly become vulnerable in other countries including even Ghana or South Africa? If Nigeria was home enough would our sons and daughters be streaming away to inconsequential countries like Ghana, Libya, Lebanon, South Africa, Dubai , Qartar etc? Where were these other countries 60 years ago? Can’t you see we are really losing it as a nation? Have some people not described us as a BFN country?

What is BFN?

Big for Nothing.

That’s very uncharitable. In fact, it smells like hate speech. You will soon hear from Lai Mohammed.
In the world of soccer, medicine, business, education, socio-cultural promotion etc, Nigeria is up there. Don’t forget the richest man in Africa is a Nigerian. Don’t forget one out of every four black man in the world is a Nigerian. We are hugely endowed with human and material resources, like none other.

True, but we are also endowed with fantastically corrupt smart alecs, like those who spend billions of Naira feeding unknown and unseen school children during lockdown; like those who divert money meant for feeding unity college students into their private bank accounts. Like those who spend huge money doing endless Turn Around Maintenance for refineries that never work.

(turns away, humming Veno Mario’s 1985 song) Nigeria Go Survive…

If them thief our oil ooo. Even of them burn the oil ooo, Nigeria Go Survive.
I say of them drink the oil ooo
No matter how them try ooo
Nigeria go survive
Our roots them strong for ground ooo
Ancestors no go gree ooo
Nigeria go survive….