It’s October 8, 2038 today, the anniversary of the day we had our first hope and taste of true freedom, that unblemished independence. We call it the New Independence Era. We’ve started including it in our government and history textbooks. It is etched deeply in our subconsciousness, I fear, much more than in our consciousness. We’ve celebrated this day ever since the first with joyful and colourful marching to mark the events that ushered in this progress and remember those who lost their lives for it. Our anthem remains the same, but it has a new meaning; the heroes we sing of are different.
My brother is going to hand over power next year to a new president. He’ll celebrate this handover along with his 42nd birthday. It’s been 2 great terms and he’s happy he has been an important part of it. He sometimes jokes that after presidency, he’ll go into lecturing; but I know him well, he’d rather teach adolescents than youths because he often quips “the youths always know many things; never underestimate that lot!”
Diary, remember I told you the Isrealic journey to our promised land began over 17 years ago? I recall it like it happened yesterday. It was a time we took up placards and paraded the major roads of the states – under the scorching sun and the torrential downpour. We displayed a type of unity and organisation unexpected from our “social media” generation. We showed them the 21st century efficiency. We showcased courage and persistence unstained by the dirt of corruption, ignorance, and suppression.
My brother was one of the many protesters. It saw the beginning of a new Nigeria, a “born again” Nigeria. We had offered the Old Independence government our patience, but they dragged it in filth. They spat on it, saliva from unclean and decayed mouths. When we got up and began to cleanse ourselves, their saliva failed them, just as their words. Then we took back our patience and exchanged it for aggression. We exercised our rights and took back what were ours – everything – starting from our safety from a deadly robbery squad under the guise of an anti-robbery unit and from a lethal police force.
We took everything that belonged to us – all and all. That was the beginning of our progress in every sector, the beginning of our foreign recognition.
Back to the good times, today’s anniversary pronounces the power of youths’ unity. We usually round the celebration off with solitary meditations or telling and retelling stories of that October 2020 to our children and grandchildren.
My young nephew hopes to be a policeman. I’m pleasantly unsurprised, who wouldn’t want to, with such standard internal reforms and upgrade over the years? He’ll join the intensive training next year and he can’t seem to suppress his excitement. His father, my brother, is proud of him. He’s confident in the police force. The immediate past president did a magnificent job with the reforms after taking over from the Old Independence government – even my brother didn’t have to do a lot; it was a job the Old Independence government couldn’t do.
Well, I’m off to tell my children of how Amina Yeshufu had no meal one day during the movement and a great pastor declined chilled beer. I do hope Amina graces one of our currency notes.
About the Writer
Anaba Elizabeth Ezenwanyi is a linguist, teacher, and prosaist who resides in Lagos, Nigeria. She spends her free time with music, either dancing or researching on forensics