Happy Independence Day Nigeria! 

 

I like this #HeroesandHelmets initiative. Its a feel good initiative. And we need some feel-good on this day that is the 56th year of our Independence from the white man in Nigeria.

Perhaps we have lost the real meaning of Independence. I have read curses on Nigeria, blessings, wishful thinking, deceit, lies and plain old grand standing.

“There is nothing to celebrate. We are hungry. We are angry. We are poor. We are BAD.”

We have forgotten the real meaning of our Independence. We have forgotten that what we celebrate is not the creation of a nation called Nigeria. (Techinically that was created in 1914.) We celebrate the formal end of colonial administration over the indigenous (black) peoples of Nigeria.

if you think that’s not something to celebrate think for a minute about the many black brethren gunned down like common criminals by the police in the United States of American – that flickering beacon of freedom and democracy. Black people gunned down doing things you take for granted here in Nigeria – selling bootleg DVDs, driving without a taillight, taking a corner without signalling, having a psychotic incident in the market place, walking down the street after dark.

In 2016, today on our 56th Independence Anniversary more than on any other day before I am soooooo happy that our forebears triumphed in their fight for freedom. Today more than any other day I am happy that my sons grew up free men in a free (albeit imperfect) nation. They’re not yet safe from institutional bullying but that is the fight if the NEW GENERATION.

We build a wall brick by brick and it is not any one person’s portion to build it all. We build on what’s come before.

Put this day in the context of slavery, colonialism and Jim Crow and then tell me again there is nothing to celebrate. Fifty-six years since Independence. ONLY. Less than a lifetime. Less than a lifetime ago our black and brown parents and grandparents were treated like a lower form of animals AS A MATTER OF OFFICIAL POLICY.

At least now we can resist such dehumanisation. At least now we can resist – at the UN, the ICC, at the ACHR, at the polling booth, in court. Whether they listen to us or not we can resist LEGALLY. And we can call upon the state to uphold, protect and enforce our right to resistance.

Who told you it was supposed to be easy?

The struggle did not end on October 1, 1960 when the Union Jack came down for the last time.

The struggle did not end in 1999 when we finally held held elections. The struggle did not end in 2015 when the party in power handed over to the opposition. The struggle does not end and each generation must inherit its own struggle. There is no UHURU. Except in Death maybe.

Happiness isn’t a state. Happiness is a fleeting moment of content in between depressingly mundane daily struggles. Happiness is stumbling upon a rose in the midst of thorns. It is festivals and dances in between reaping and sowing – rituals to remind us what we struggle for and renew our spirit.

Success is winning those daily struggles. Don’t lose sight of the forest for the tree. Do something inspiring. Go find one of our brethren in uniform and take a selfie. Support the troops. Hold the government accountable.

Good leaders will understand the meaning of this.

I would like to wish all of you a reflective and inspiring Independence Day.

#TheGospelAccordingToLesley

 

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