Chief Ademola Olowookere
SIR: The Diamond Jubilee celebration of the Nigeria’s independence on October 1 has come and gone. But the bad feelings against the federal government by the majority of the populace who due to lack of understanding of the government, especially over the recent removal of fuel subsidy, which invariably shot up the prices of the commodity and the increase in the electricity tariffs are yet to subside and not ready to go away in a hurry.
In order to be carrying the civil populace along in its public policy implementation, the federal government should educate and sensitize the general populace to arouse their sense of patriotism, especially the last petroleum subsidy removal policy. This is because, its long run benefits and positive impacts on their lives far outweigh its short run negative impacts.
While the festive mood of the Diamond Jubilee celebration is still in the air, I plead with President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to also remember those groups, individuals, captain of industries, corporate bodies, industrialists, philanthropists etc. who have in one way or the other have contributed in no small measure to the economic, political and social developments of Nigeria, since 1960 and they are still striving to do more for the economic benefits of Nigeria and the Nigerians.
Looking at it retrospectively, the history and conferment of national honours on deserving Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of their callings pre-dated the Nigeria’s Independence in 1960. It dates back to the period, when the country was still under the rule of the British colonial imperialism.
To support the above claim, there was such a similar event, when the late Ijebu-Jesa born juju maestro, Isaiah Kehinde Dairo a.k.a I.K Dairo was conferred with the MBE (Member of British Empire) award, by the Queen of England, who was the nominal head of British government then. It was on the occasion of the British Empire Day’s celebration which was being celebrated in all the countries that were under the British rule then. And Nigeria was among those countries until October 1, 1960 and later 1963, when Nigeria became a republican country. Since then, independence anniversary and the Nigerian National Honours Award have replaced the British Empire Day celebration and its award.
The MBE award conferred on I.K. Dairo that time was greeted with loud ovation and massive jubilation. The reason was that Nigerians believed that, conferring such a High British government’s honour on the recipient showed how highly the colonial authorities have valued the recipient and recognized his musical works.
It is also good and it is still in the right step, if patriotic citizens that have paid their dues and have contributed their quotas to the socio-political-economic development of the country are honoured while they are still alive, instead of conferring on them posthumous awards. If they are honoured in their lifetimes, their spirits as well as those of their children won’t forget the country that recognized and honoured their parents when they were still alive.
The Diamond Jubilee gifts given to teachers by the federal government could still be extended to these patriotic Nigerians, non-indigenous and naturalized Nigerians, who have been contributing financially, through job creation and philanthropism to Nigeria’s development. These group of individuals, corporate bodies, industrialists, philanthropists etc. could still be honoured through the conferment of national awards. And those that have been the beneficiaries of previous award could also be upgraded to show that the federal government and the people of Nigeria too appreciate and recognize their selfless and immense contributions to the economic development of Nigeria.
It is not too late to create avenue/occasion to accommodate such – while still in the mood of the Diamond Jubilee celebration.
- Chief Ademola Olowookere, Ibadan, Oyo State.