It’s another Oct 1 and it’s Nigeria’s Independence. Many Nigerians would have composed the “Happy Independence” message to their friends some days ahead, many would design the independence flyer and flags they would use as DPs, while some may have gone a step further to even buy green and white dresses to adorn them selves today marking the independence celebration. Even Google has joined in by changing their icon to green and white colors!
Our Government is not left out! The federal and even state budget to mark the independence would be most impressive, speeches will be delivered, we would have a Presidential Address, all manner of fan fare and brouhaha to commemorate this day and make it colorful and remarkable!
Nonetheless one question I cannot help but ask is, “ARE WE TRULY INDEPENDENT?” Or perhaps another way or asking this question politely is What exactly are we Independent of?
I sometimes struggle with the fact that we are politically independent as we are evidently still dependent on the West for structural and constitutional policies. Well, what do I even know about politics? So let me not go there. I’m only but a mere writer! However, I know enough to say that we are not Psychologically, Emotionally and Mentally Independent! What am I saying? Consider these:
If the head of our children’s primary or secondary school is “White” even if he is from Egypt, Algeria, India or Lebanon we believe the school will have a better standard of education that the one with a Nigerian head. And of course we are ready and willing to pay whatever fees are charged!
If we are asked to pay school fees in Dollars or Pounds, it makes the school of “International Standard” and automatically better than the one we pay in Naira. The same goes for anything else. Once we are billed in foreign currency then it is the real deal!
Our Handbags, Shoes and Clothes must be made and bought in Italy, Spain, UK or US otherwise we are looked down upon or considered not “up to standard”! The same way beads strung by a local jewelry maker aren’t considered an appropriate accessory for certain class of people.
If I say “I love Nigerian Movies” I am seen as “local”. I should be watching American Movie to be hip…fancy Adele instead of Alade…dance Riri instead of Tiwa, dress like Beyoncé instead of Chidinma, fancy JayZ instead of Flavour, have a crush on Denzel instead of Desmond! We would rather keep up with the Kardashians but not with the Ekeindes!
When I go to my village Homeland for Xmas, takes pictures and post on social media people say I’m unbelievable…that I should not be seen doing such…”it is not good for my brand”, I’m told. But when I go to Disneyland and post pictures, I’m applauded with many likes and comments!
When I fix Brazilian Hair they thinks I’m beautiful but when I do Nigerian Hair, they say I’m “bush”! They call me “Ekaete”!
When I say I like Guguru and Epa, Roasted Corn, Ube, and Boli with fish or try to eat them in the company of some people in public, they say I’m bush and I’m embarrassing them. But if I choose to eat chicken and chips, it’s fine and they are proud of me! Many will not snap a bowl of Eba and Ogbono soup to post on social media but anytime they have English Breakfast or a bowl of Salad, rather than pray before eating, they snap and post before eating!
When I wear my Nigerian Print Fabrics (Ankara/Adire) to certain meetings or occasion I am seen like someone without fashion sense and style…in fact, I am a villager!
The Nigerian Accent is now like a taboo on our local Radio and TV stations, what is prevalent now is the Ameritish accent – a combination of American and British accent as a result of accent confusion, which occurs when trying to fake one!
Let me not even talk about our complete dependence on the Educational and Medical system abroad due to no fault of ours though. Anytime, any day a foreign degree will open doors Nigerian degrees won’t!
Even as a business person, Nigerian companies take me seriously when they see I have a foreign affiliation or even an ordinary address or phone number whether functional or not…who cares?
Many companies in Nigeria today even Government establishment prefer mediocre foreign “technical experts” to competent Nigerians. And if they must employ Nigerians, they prefer to bring them in from “abroad” as expatriates and pay them in Forex because they speak and act like a white man only in a black skin!
Let me not even mention those that are not proud of their native names or would not even speak their native dialect in public, neither would they admit to anything connected to their roots. They will proudly tell you they have never been to their hometown and don’t know where it is but they will burst your eardrums with tales anytime they travel overseas!
Late Fela Anikulapo Kuti sang about this phenomenon as far back as 1977 when he released a song titled COLONIAL MENTALITY. The thoughts expressed in that song still resonates in our society even today, 39 years later!
If I understand the lyrics of this song by this great man, “Colonial Mentality” is the ideals, principles, teachings, and philosophies that are vestige of colonialism in our society, barring us political, economic, and socio-cultural common sense! It is the attitude that colonized peoples feel they are inferior to their colonizers. The direct implication of this is that they will still be very DEPENDENT on them!
it is said you are a colonial man
You have been a slave before
They have released you now,
have never released yourself
It is like this
It is like this what they do: they overdo
everything they do
What they do: they think that they
are better than their brothers. Is it not like this?. …
It is like this!
The thing why blacks are not good
because they like foreign things
Isn`t it like this?
Besides our mentality as individuals, our governance is not devoid of subtle slavery even as Nigeria celebrates 56 years today! We only metamorphosed from one form of slavery to another and only the Slave Masters changed but we remain in a system of governance that oppress and dehumanize till date.
So, just like I do every October 1, I ask again…ARE WE TRULY INDEPENDENT???