They are turning in their graves… The real Nigerian heroes… The genuine martyrs of our time. They came they saw and they conquered for us, so we can all have a better life, a secured future and unabashed pride. Like true heroes that they are, they dreamt for us so we can have a better future devoid of pains, despair and hopelessness.
What have we got today as a nation in appreciation of their dreams to make their spirit sleep in their graves, having given us those old visions which we are fast loosing?…absolutely nothing, except the continued force marriage otherwise known as unity… Our evergreen heroes are turning in their graves?
We have lost grip with our past?… Hatred is now our watch word and self service, our stock in trade. We are now a shadow of the old dreams enslaving ourselves with greed, ostentatious life, unpatriotic posture and hopelesness now ruling our air waves thereby dwarfing our zeal for a better tomorrow.
Remembering the greatest heroes of our time whose vision made us up today as a nation.
Read their word:
Nigerians’ happpiness indivisible – By Chief Obafemi Awolowo
“The welfare and happpiness of the peoples of Nigeria are indivisible. So are their misfortunes and adversities…We must seek to arrest the process of Nigeria’s disintegration and reunite the country (August, 1966).
Without peace and unity, we cannot record significant progress. With peace and unity, there is no limit to the amount of progress that we can achieve. In order to have peace and unity, all of us must forget the animosities of the past. I am sincerely and respectfully calling on the leaders of all the parties to look forward to a bright future, and eschew bitterness. Win or lose, let us all resolve to keep a good sense of humour and preserve the peace of this great nation. (October, 1978).
“Out of our 80 million population, about 70 million live in abject poverty whilst about 60 million are actually starving, and have for houses, shelters unsuitable for modern poultry or piggery. As against this soul-dedepressing picture, we have in our midst about one thousand rich Nigerians who in the past cleverly rigged the sources of the wealth of our nation, and are now tactically poised to oligopolise all the munificent avenues of riches that may supervene now and in the future. The rich, and the highly-placed in business, public life and government are running a dreadful risk in their callous neglect of the poor and the downtrodden…” (January, 1980).
Essentials for Nigerian survival – By Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, April 1965
“After four years of independence, the Federal Republic of Nigeria is experiencing teething troubles. As Africa’s most populous country, its role in contemporary history is significant. There are only nine nations in the world larger than Nigeria in population, and it is worthy of note that of these six are federal in structure. Ironically, our population gives us an advantage and places us under a handicap. Though it earns us prestige, it also causes us to be visited by a multiplicity of problems.
The election to our Parliament, which took place last December 30, brought some of these problems into sharp focus and precipitated a crisis. Whether the containment of the crisis will be permanent or temporary depends upon how those in authority take cognizance of the forces that are working to undermine the security of the state and the stability of the government.
The immediate causes of the crisis were the incompetent manner in which the electoral machinery was operated, the undemocratic nature of the electioneering campaigns which were featured by violence and lawlessness, the boycotting of elections in one-fourth of the 312 constituencies and the threat of secession by one of the four regions forming the Federation.
But there were remote political causes which accentuated the problems of federalism in the Republic and ultimately precipitated the December crisis. These were related to the exercise of executive, legislative and judicial power, the enjoyment of fundamental human rights, the creation of more states and the status of the Head of State.
Before the advent of British rule in Nigeria, most of our people were essentially democratic in their political institutions. There were exceptions in communities where strong men emerged and assumed power or usurped it, but such autocratic tendencies were generally resisted. This heritage of democracy has been preserved through the elders of the community, who became an instrument for the maintenance of law and order in their society. To ensure that the canons of ethics and law were not discarded, responsibility was granted to the elders, who were presumed to know and cherish the customs and traditions of the group”.
Nigeria looks ahead – By Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, October 1962
The Federation of Nigeria became a sovereign independent state and ninety- ninth member of the United Nations less than two years ago. Our entrance into the arena of international politics marked an epoch in our history, made even more memorable by the good will and affection with which we were received from all sides. Everyone hailed the appearance of Africa’s largest state.
To the leaders and people of Nigeria, however, this event was also a grim reminder of the fact that, for the first time in our history as a single unified state, we now have to fend for ourselves, and to sustain and consolidate our unity and freedom. We have to give real meaning to this freedom by making it an instrument for a better and more prosperous life for our people.
But determined as we were to shoulder our internal responsibilities, it was our added task to demonstrate that democracy could work not only in our own country, but in the other parts of the continent, if there were a will and determination to do so. We have not shrunk from the belief that our greatest contribution to Africa and the world at large would be in the example we show of good sense and reasonableness in our approach to problems, and the projection of those qualities into our conduct of external relations.
National unity is, naturally, uppermost in our minds, as it is self-evident that planning and prosperity can thrive only in conditions of peace and orderliness. It is less than 50 years since Lord Lugard amalgamated into one country what were then the northern and southern protectorates of Nigeria, and it was not until 15 years ago that a constitution was introduced which for the first time brought Nigerians from every part of the country into a common legislature.
National unity has made remarkable progress since then; a feeling of common citizenship has developed and has been increasingly sustained by the challenge of independence. However, we have not trusted merely to chance and have ensured that there is an instrument-that is, a written constitution-by which this unity can be supported.
A federal system of government is always full of problems and difficulties, but so is democracy, because the art of persuasion is much more difficult than a dictatorship though in the long run more rewarding and satisfying.