Nigeria at 56: ‘X-raying’ the coat of arms
Nigeria at 56: ‘X-raying’ the coat of arms
By Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu
The Nigeria’s coat of arms as designed and adopted on May 20, 1960 signifies unification.
Our forefathers, the conceivers of Nigeria’s independence idea never envisioned disunity, selfishness, tribalism, nepotism, greed, avarice and power-induced arrogance; the deadly sea of which we are swimming in today.
The Y-shaped black shield with two white lines represents Nigeria’s fertile soil, while the two horses on each side stand for dignity. The eagle represents strength, while the green and white bands on the top of the shield signify the rich soil.
The nation’s beauty was also thought of when they put the grassy field of Costus Spectabilis, the Nigeria’s national flower, so called because of its availability all over the country, as grassy field at the base of the coat of arms. The white wavy pall represents the Niger and the Benue rivers. On the banderole around the base is Nigeria’s national motto: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress”
Where is the nation’s dignity today? What became of the rich soil? Where lies the country’s strength? And our peace? When a five year old kindergarten child, just learning to construct sentences tells the teacher ‘I want to become a politician when I grow up’, ‘Why?’ ‘Because I want to have a lot of money, buy plenty cars and have big houses like my daddy.’ That is the modern orientation! The over-pampered child grows into adolescent with arrogance, looking down on honest workers as never-do –well and unfortunate beings.
Our strength now lies in violence. As Boko Haram thrives in terrorism in the North East, the militants hold sway in the South-South, claiming lives and destroying our collective inheritance. Kidnappers, ritualists ride on the storm in the West and South East, holding the nation by the jugular, making it almost inhabitable.
How did we get here? The young and energetic don’t want to sweat for a living. Their kleptomaniac parents spoil them rotten. Strange names keep popping up. ‘Yahoo boys’, ‘Yahoo plus’, internet fraud adapted for classy living. ‘Aristos’, ‘Runz girls’, enriching teachers at higher institutions of learning with illicit cash and kind in return for pass marks and good grades in examinations they never prepared for. The country, thus full of unemployable school graduates that got fixed up where eminently suitable candidates roam the streets in search of jobs.
The masses are dying of hunger. Roads are death traps. Hospitals are consulting edifice. Schools are mere buildings. Our lawmakers are busy amassing wealth for themselves. Who changes the unchangeable changer? Those who have turned the employed to jobless, changed the home owners to homeless, caused thriving businesses to be history, changed the living to dead via hunger and joblessness, while members of their families, qualified or not, hold the juicy political positions; elective and appointment. They preach what they never practice; do as I say, not as I do.
The few with good intentions are being frustrated by hundreds of rotten eggs in the political class. A theft of trillion dollars is tried on the pages of newspapers. Then, plea bargain to the rescue. It is a taboo for big men/women to languish in jail. Petty thieves get the complete trial and long-term jail sentences. They go in as small- time thieves, come out as hardened criminals after mingling with real rogues and unrepentant fraudsters in over-crowded prisons. Meanwhile, the treasury looters are packing all the chieftaincy titles and calling the shots. The midwives of Nigeria’s independence, the likes of Obafemi Awolowo, Anthony Enahoro, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, Aminu Kano must be turning in their graves.
The discovery of oil, a curse or blessing? The black gold actually enthroned easy life, criminality, bred grumps, killed agriculture, opened our doors to foreign balderdash.
It is never too late however, to have another look at the Nigeria’s coat of arms, and what it is supposed to mean. If the citizens would rise in unison and embrace rare solidarity towards making the project Nigeria work, the common goal of : jobs for everyone, habitable shelter for all, affordable food and healthcare, zero tolerance for corruption, equity and justice, quality infrastructure, unity and peace will definitely be realized.