October 1: 5 Reasons This Independence Day Is Different
The threads that hold Nigeria's six geo-political zones together are being stretched to the limit.
More people, young people keep asking the same old question which we have heard over the last 50 years - Where are we going as a nation?
If Nigeria were a man, how would he feel as he turns 57 on Sunday?
Bounce News highlights 5 reasons this year's celebration is quite unique compared to others before it.
1. It's 50 years since the Civil War Began
It's a golden jubilee that would rather be forgotten and the details laid to rest deep down in the waves that move beneath the Niger Bridge.
It's was horror and the nation shook to its very foundation. Most of those who witnessed it first hand always begin their account of events with a deep sigh (hmmmm).
It was also a war that showed us as a nation how weak we are when we divide and how powerful we can be when we stick together.
2. The Emergence of IPOB
Proscribed by the Federal government and the governors in the South East region, the members and supporters of the Indigenous People of Biafra made September very eventful.
The agitation for self rule became more popular with the arrest, detention and release of Nnamdi Kanu, the self-acclaimed leader of the group.
The Nigerian Army was deployed and its Python Danced in Abia state as law and order were restored.
IPOB's call for a referendum appeared to be non-violent and they were warned not to take anything by force.
Like the president said in a much earlier interview, Nigeria will not tolerate any attempt to create a state within a state without following laid down constitutional avenues.
3. The Threats And Quit Notice
Never before has a deadline been set by an influential regional group ordering non-indigenes to relocate to their states of origin for face dire consequences.
Although the response to these threats were initially treated with kid gloves by state and federal authorities, the sting was promptly averted by elder statesmen.
The government's response has been firm since then with court orders empowering security operatives to arrest those bent on disrupting law and order.
However, the threats are still lingering on the minds of the people resident in some affected states.
They might just feel safer staying in-doors all through the day.
4. The President's Absence
Muhammadu Buhari's 104 days medical vacation to treat a strange ailment is still on the minds of the people.
Although he has spent the last month getting up to speed with national and international concerns; some people still wonder if he is built enough to handle the pressure especially from within his cabinet.
His zero-tolerance for corruption is laudable but observers wonder when the people will begin to reap the rewards of his policies.
This is the longest time that a serving President in Nigeria will be away from the country and affairs of the nation.
With less than 500 days to the next presidential election, it may soon become obvious that all eyes are on February 16, 2019 and not October 1, 2018.
5. Less People Are Wearing Green & White
It has become an unwritten tradition for Nigerians to wear a touch of either green or white on Independence Day.
The anniversary of the nation's birth is usually greeted with flags, mufflers and stickers. Less people are even selling the mechandise and those selling complain of poor sales.
There has been a recession but officially it is over or so they say.
The yearly excitement appears to have disappeared. Less people recite the national anthem and there is also a sense of stalemate between the people and the leaders.
Loads of promises were made but very little kept.
The discourse is more focused on people demanding "true federalism" or "restructuring".
They are pharses and a word creeping slowly into the nations lingua franca with their meanings tainted by ethnic variations and transliteration.
In all, Nigeria is a nation of people not crude oil, PEOPLE!
Our energy, resoucefulness and courage are what keep us going against all odds.
If only the strive for individual success could become a national habit.
If only we could understand that we (most times) live in self-denial wearing a blindfold of hope while opportunities pass us by.
If only we the followers understand that the attitude of our leaders is merely a reflection of the majority of us as we truely are on the inside.
Our leaders did not come from MARS - they are also Nigerians.
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