As I watched the long awaited and over celebrated Nigeria’s commemoration of 100 years of amalgamation yesterday, I watched with disgust as our gorgeously dressed President Goodluck Jonathan and the speaker of the House Representatives Aminu Tambuwal welcome world leaders to the lecture venue. I also listened though with little attention to the encomiums labeled on our “wonderful” nation at 100.Image

As interesting as the appellations sounded they were provocations to my ears. I was reminded that the African is in constant practice of praise singing as all the leaders I was opportune to hear speak, only sang praises of Nigeria- a failed state!

I saw Jona smile, speaker after speaker in approval of their praises of the “giant of Africa”, “the most populous black nation in the world”, many even dared to add that “Nigeria cannot divide after living for a hundred years!

However I will first of all commend the families that turned down the post humous awards given their late progenitors and family members on grounds of ills committed against the awardees. The families of late human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi and afrobeat king, Fela Anikulapo Kuti rejected the post humous awards for both late Fawehinmi and Fela even as Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka also rejected the award.

Hear Soyinka “I would have preferred that the entire day of infamy be ignored altogether. I’m even thinking favourably of just ignoring the obscenity, then turning up at the counter-event.”

Professor Soyinka, however, said he will endeavour, to be at the centenary awards planned in London on June 27 during which diasporans will honour 100 outstanding Nigerians in the UK. At a gala dinner due to take place at Waltham Forest Town Hall in East London tagged Nigerian Centenary Awards UK, diasporans will hand out honours to 100 Nigerians who have excelled in various fields in the UK over the last 100 years.

I doff my hat for their courage and uprightness.

Yesterday I was ashamed that the nation would amidst plenty killings and recent massacre of over 40 school children and more in Benue state; while about 20 teenage girls whisked away by Boko haram, with the nation going on as if nothing happened. Not even a national half mast flag flying. Pity!Image

I, the least expected that the insensitivity would not be so crass and plain. A sensitive nation would have toned down the celebrations after the national mourning not such blatant show of unconcern. I expected the attendee leaders to wear the usual mourning black bands (don’t know what they are called anyway), even if they did not mean it. For our youth artistes who need to make their daily bread my expectations were not less.

If I were in the position of authority in the matter, I would have also turned down the award bestowed upon Late Senator J.S. Tarka the only awardee from Benue state. It is a mockery of everything the late senator stood for. The man, Joseph Saawuan Tarkaa was a symbol of the Tiv and middle belt emancipation; he stood for everything that protected his people. He was alive to the feelings of his people. Tarkaa would not have gone to a luncheon to dance and gyrate or listen to meaningless praise singing when his brethren are groaning under Fulani oppression or sacked from their villages with government giving such great inhumanity a blind eye treatment.

What unity are we celebrating when the masses are going hungry; corruption is taking a coded gradual progression while we are bamboozled with figures. Is it not embarrassing that an oil producing nation like Nigeria is in the middle of serious fuel scarcity even as it has been adjudged the OIC country with the highest fuel price? What is worth celebrating when all I can see is the incapability of a nation who coerced other independent nations that hundred years ago could handle their security into one nation called Nigeria, incapable or better still refuse to take care of their security needs?

It hurts me to see that my dear warrior nation-Tiv had surrendered her nationhood and independence to be amalgamated into a defenseless nation. Before the amalgamation, even the Queen of England had attested to their warrior stance after defeating her well equipped and sophisticated army in various wars in her bid to conquer us. I can remember the stories peddled of glorious victories against the Fulani jihadist led by legendary Uthman Danfodio who had conquered the whole northern Nigeria only to be halted by Tiv warriors (what the Tiv call the damkor wars). It is however ironic that the same fulanis are the ones whose military might is now seen to be unsummountable by the Nigerian security agencies whom we have submitted our security to.

I dare to ask, what form of Celebration is this amidst so much unsavoury and incelebratable  happenings. It is time to end the white wash!



  1. Son Gyoh says:

    Too much window dressing has always been our problem. Youll think we dont have a thing to worry about…At times like this serious nations touch on challenges too, only then can people reflect on how it could be done better.


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