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Nigeria: Is independence a curse upon us?

Independence is good when the people are not emasculated by poverty, inequality, insecurity, broken infrastructure and despair.

I know this post will not go down well with some people, but the truth is the British left too early for us to learn anything that would prepare us for the life ahead.

I look at countries that stayed long under colonial rules like India, South Africa, Hong Kong, Macau, Namibia, etc, and wonder how they are doing so well.

I thought that we would probably be doing better if the British had remained as our leaders to this day.

I know for a fact that colonialism does not operate under insecurity. The British ran their colonies with law and order par excellence.

Today, Nigeria is not secured. It is suicidal to travel in the day along Kaduna-Abuja or Birnin Gwari road. Most people in Zamfara and Katsina have become refugees due to activities of bandits. People pass through Jos at personal risk. In Kaduna kidnappers pick their victims on the streets.

I know colonialism did not allow corruption to fester. For every project budgeted there must be something to show for the money.

In our today Nigeria, most projects that started in 1983 are still going on with money stolen year in and year out. Over 2 trillion dollars had been stolen by our leaders. No colonial master was ever accused of stealing billions of pounds.

Colonialism did not operate with poor infrastructure. It is the pillar that was used by colonial masters to move cash crops from cities to coast for export to the home country. We had few roads that time, but reasonably good. Look at the infrastructure colonialism left behind in Hong Kong and South Africa and you will understand what I mean.

Colonialism might not have favoured education but l look at our leaders of the past that were products of colonial education and wonder what system of education we are operating today with our leaders struggling to read prepared speeches. No Nigerian leader today has the diction of Tafawa Balewa or Nnamdi Azikiwe.

I also know colonialism does not encourage waste, vanity and profligacy. The colonial masters moved in convoy of three vehicles and dress mostly in simple suits and military fatigue. They did not buy planes and helicopters to intimidate us. Today our leaders dress like emperors. A governor’s convoy will shame that of the Queen. The tragedy is we don’t even build cars, not even tyres! I can go on and mention more examples.

The bitter truth is if the British had remained with us we would have been better than our present economic and social situation. They would have trained our leaders to become better managers of resources.

Nigeria had no oil when the colonial masters built all our seaports and vast network of rail lines and roads that we find impossible to maintain not to talk of building new ones.

By Aliyu Nuhu

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