What is a nation without her history? What is the present without the past? The action of time does not allow for such gaps. Nigeria, as we know it now is not what it used to be centuries ago. The country has undergone massive changes in all spheres of life. The rate of population growth has increased exponentially alongside the rate of crime. The world of technology is gaining more recognition even as some brains are responding positively to the law of diminishing returns. It seems as if there’s a negative reaction for every positive action but it is all a matter of the state of one’s mind.

Nevertheless, the world stood still on that day, October 1st, 1960, when Nigeria gained her independence and waved her flag of freedom proudly with a wink to the British government. Finally, we’d have our own indigenous rulers. We would have the chance to tell our story in our own words and our language. Of course, freedom is good but what good is freedom when slavery still roams the streets? Are we still slaves? No, we’re not- to the British government. Still, slavery thrives in a free land. You want proof? Then, you are not far from the truth, citizen. Read on.

Bandits abduct students, kill villagers- ring any bells? It should. This is one of the stories in the news you won’t miss each week. How did bandits gain so much control? When did they become such notorious celebrities? This is bad news for the country whose anthem’s line goes thus: “Help our youth the truth to know”. I suppose you’ll be making youth like machines or importing them like AK-47 after all of them have been abducted. I wonder where you’ll get a supply of future leaders. Even if there are youth in the affected parts, they will be half baked because no parent would want to send their child(ren) to school with their hearts in their mouths as to whether they would return home safely. These people are forced to live in fear and these children have little or no education. Education, they say, is enlightenment. If they are not educated, they will have to submit to slavery, especially slavery of the mind.

Thunder strikes but some unions strike better. Nigerian students, you’ve not been forgotten. I believe every citizen has the right to education-I don’t think this line works around here anymore. Every year, we always have one or two strike actions in the education sector to add a finishing touch to the year. If negotiations can be made with armed robbers or kidnappers in a matter of minutes or days, then I’m sure the government can negotiate peacefully and quickly with unions to avoid unnecessary delay in the academic journeys of students. It doesn’t speak too well on our integrities for us to lie when we fill forms asking us for the year of our graduation. I think it will be quite nice to have a definite picture of yourself as a Nigerian student in some years without thinking of extra school years, thanks to strike actions. 

I have one last proof to show you that the behind-the-scenes of the pre-independence time are coming back with more sass and jazz. 20-10-20: Do you remember? Were you there? Was your brother hurt? Was your sister murdered? For me, it’s a yes. My brothers and sisters were hurt and murdered. They were injured while fighting for freedom. I see the fights and the struggles of our fathers coming back like part two of Black Panther. The #EndSars protest rocked the country in ways we could never have imagined. Our eyes were opened to see the silent sufferings of Nigerians. Why should we live in fear of those who are supposed to protect us? Sounds to me like slavery, alright. To think that our lives are at the mercy of some armed men and women- that is unacceptable. We didn’t gain independence to wake up to another hello from slavery. 

Do you remember those brave men and women who fought for our independence- standing firm like the ìrókò tree rooted deep in the Nigerian soil? They knew what they were trying to chase away; they understood that the umbrella of slavery was an illusion- it was not the real deal. So, they laboured with hopes that it wouldn’t be in vain, according to the national anthem. It is quite a pity that slavery was only abolished on paper. These are my thoughts and this is my country.