By Sao Nyakoi
We can be, and, indeed we are, and must strive to become tough, courageous and Philosophical concerning fame, power, influence, death and devastation, for this is what most of mankind has been since we have heard of man! Even so, most of mankind, we all now know, is not all of mankind. Yet, for Independence, with Independence and of Independence, we are all expected to be sanguine, optimistic and hopeful, if only for the fact that this hope about Independence, brings to an end, though not with any effective immediacy, decades of patriarchy, paternalism and subjugation. In any case, the fact that this hope has been so long in gaining fruition, is sufficient enough to cast layers of misgivings on the political reality of Independence. It is 61 years, Too Soon!
In the early years of Independence, with its excitement and effervescence filled with hope, job opportunities and, a future seemingly so bright, Sierra Leoneans studying abroad, on the completion of their studies, embarked on a mad rush home to fill available job vacancies. Today, after decades of Independence, Sierra Leoneans studying abroad become permanent economic refugees in foreign countries, thanks to unfavorable conditions back home. Still, it is Independence, 61 years, too soon!
The political and economic phenomena of Independence in the decades following World War Two, had been particularly contagious, very exciting, to say the least. Then, the word “Independence” in Africa was almost meaningless because, Europe had no desire to leave Africa. This perhaps, is an extremely harsh way of stating the case —- ungrateful, it sounds to colonial Apologists, but the evidence that supports this way of stating the case, cannot easily be refuted. And, the sloppy and fatuous nature of European goodwill or benevolence could not be trusted to deal with hard problems in the newly Independent African States, that ended up being breeding grounds for the agents of Neo-colonialism. A classic and very glaring example of the new negative trend that descended upon the newly Independent African States was that in less than a decade after Independence, Nigeria (1965), Ghana (1966), Sierra Leone (1967), all former British colonies had experienced periods of military interregnum, as the Khaki Boys resented the opulent life styles of their respective civilian leadership. And, the fact of the matter is, we are celebrating Independence, 61 years, too soon.
Yet, even as we celebrate Independence with all the glamour, fanfare, and splendor, we know, deep down, that Africa is still chained to Europe and exploited by Europe and, Europe and America are chained together in this wicked game of exploitation. As long as this is so, we can only speak of Africa in the context of an overblown rhetoric, as a cradle and a potential! Not until the millions of people on the Continent of Africa, are in position to control their own land and resources, will the African personality flower, and genuinely African Institutions flourish and reveal Africa as she really ought to be. Only that now, we’re poised to mark Independence, 61 years, too soon!
What all this comes to, finally, is the fact that leaders of the newly Independent African States, had spent a large part of their time and energy, looking away from one of the principal facts of life in the new nations —- REALITY. Alas! This failure to look reality in the face, diminishes a nation as it can all too quickly diminish a person. It’s a failure that can be described as unmanly, effeminate, to say the least. The Struggle was to attain Independence, not what to do with Independence, it seems. And now, it Independence, 61 years, too soon!
Finally, any honest examination of the National life in the 61 years of Independence, proves just how far we are from the universally accepted standard of human freedom, which we have been deceived to have received at Independence. The recovery then, of this standard, demands of everyone who loves that country, a very hard look at himself, because the greatest achievement must begin somewhere, and they must always begin with the person. If we are not now capable of this examination, we may yet become one of the most distinguished and monumental failures in the history of Independent Sovereign Republics on the African Continent. And so, let’s remember, even as we celebrate Independence, 61 years, too early.
Still, much consolation can be derived from the fact that this years Independence celebrations will be laced with land mark strides in development in areas like Agriculture, Education and Infrastructure, thanks in large measure, to the new political dispensation, under the auspices of the New Direction Administration, led by His Excellency Julius Maada Bio. The first time Sierra Leone is having some landmark to point at as she celebrates her Independence, 61 years, too soon!
On the Far Left.