Independence Day is here again!
Like birthdays, it comes around once a year, just like death anniversaries. It’s an affair we mark as Nigerians; mandatorily or as its put, constitutionally.
My point is, it incites a birth-near death emotion – like reading about a baby shower and an obituary on the same page. Imagine that!
On days like this, I expect that sentiments are universal since we are all subscribed to the same news – the state of Nigerias’ politics and economy.
I would have gone on with my assumption, but thank God social media spared me that futility. Nigerians actually seem awfully thrilled about Independence Day! Why else are instagram, whatsapp statuses, facebook and what else, flooded with pictures of green and whited attired children, memes bounded in green and white? Could it be an irresistible urge borne out of patriotism and nationalism? Or just some deep psychological symptom manifesting itself? I know, I’ve asked a lot of questions. They’re rhetorical.
Even I have participated in this hoopla. This charade. I’ve written poems and articles. I’ve put forth argument in favour of celebrating what is ours in spite of all. I’ve called it nationalism. I’ve called it love.
Today however, I cannot disregard the thought that all this bears a resemblance to an abusive relationship – The one where the guy beats the girl, she cries and murmurs, but never reports to the police; on his birthday she tries to tells the world he’s a good father or that he at least can afford family vacations; like it’s a consolation. She puts up their best pictures.
The ones where they’re both smiling. She reminds herself that she’s a good wife and that’s what good wives do well mostly because she’s got no other choice!
That’s how I feel today. Nigerians are married to this batterer- Nigeria; only offering her the heritage of nationality. And as “good Nigerians” we feel obligated to put up as show of jingoism. Perhaps it’s no fault of ours, maybe it’s the Stockholm syndrome. Extreme? Read that somewhere.
Truth is I don’t know an alternative to the jingoism of Independence Day and admittedly this is the first time I’ve questioned the whole essence of it.
As a consolation, we may decide, like that abused wife, to celebrate the good in “this marriage” – each other.
Today, I celebrate every Nigerian who in spite of all the hardships we’ve now grown accustomed to, has made a living for themselves and for others.