Today is Nigeria, my beloved country’s 55th independence. I won’t celebrate, and I don’t want to join the bandwagon to celebrate. I know I will risk the attack of many and will be considered unpatriotic by those who considers themselves more patriotic than I am for the following questions. What are we really celebrating? Are we really free? Should we really celebrate?

In 2008 as a first year student of the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State Nigeria, I wrote a term paper on the topic, “Nigeria: almost five decades of independence is still underdeveloped.” Almost 10years after I wrote that paper, and more than 5 decades after independence, we are still married to the issues I raised.

So I ask again, are we really free? Though, we might be administratively free from the reign of Britain over us, but we are still not free from our own people that have turned the rest of us into their own colony by sapping us dry and sharing the “national cake” among themselves. Are we free when a section of the state is infested with the venom of terrorism and menaced by kidnapping? Should we really celebrate when poverty is still staring us in the face in the midst of plenty? Should we celebrate when Ekaitte will not be able to go pass elementary school because her parents cannot be able to afford to pay her school fees? Should we celebrate when every year university students who are supposed to be in school learning how to advance the country will sit at home for months because of ASUU strike? Should we celebrate when Mr. Amadi lost his precious wife and mother of his kids because he could not afford to pay for the deposit in a government hospital? And similar stories abound daily. Should we celebrate when diseases like hypertension, diabetes, malaria which are better managed in other clime still claims the lives of our people?

What are we really celebrating? Are we celebrating because we can now have a free and fair election 16 years since democracy? Are we celebrating because Musa will no longer see Ebuka as a foreigner rather than a Nigerian? Are we celebrating because our people can now have an affordable healthcare or quality education? Are we celebrating when people cannot sleep with their two eyes closed? Are we celebrating when our graduates cannot get employed after graduation? These and many more reasons are why I am not going to celebrate the independence.

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