...And this we count as gain,
To hand on to our children
A banner without stain...

The above lines form the closing part of the second stanza of Nigeria's former national anthem, "Nigeria we hail thee," which ceased to exist in 1978 when the current one, "Arise O Compatriots" replaced it.

At independence up till the early 1980s when I went to grammar school (as secondary schools were then known), we had a dream of a country where everyone was proud to live in and call their own. A country "though tribe and tongue differed, in brotherhood we stood". Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, Izon, Ikwerre, Idoma, Urhobo, Igbo, etc, existed; the differences that separated them were noticed only in their individual peculiarities and strength. Mutual competition that developed Nigeria operating on the regional government’s template was carried over to the UPN, NPN, NPC, GNPP, PRP days in 1979-1983, in which states governed by each of those parties were allowed to run their administrations strictly in line with published manifestoes.

Thus, in Bendel, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Lagos, governments of those states ran UPN manifestoes, which afforded a Charles Ideho, for instance, to go through secondary school on free education. Youth Corpers were given car loans. Job opportunities awaited young graduates who distinguished themselves. University authorities retained graduates who came out in flying colours as lecturers. My boarding fee back at Holy Trinity Grammar School, Sabongidda Ora in 1980, was N30 per term (not N3,000; not N30,000; not N3m, but N30! Kndly ask Joel Osahon Idemudia for confirmation).

Life was good. The loaf of bread that's sold for N350 today was sold for 40k. Enrolment for WAEC cost N50 if you were a science student. A brand new Peugeot 504 SR sold for N6,000.

But why go on recalling the good old days when the present gang of leaders has sworn by their inconsiderate, unpatriotic style of leadership to consign those days to the trash can of history?

Today, what do we count as gain? A country that now plays host to useless analogue and roguish leaders who see selfishness as a virtue while the rest of us go to bed without food. What do we count as gain? A country that beams live photo footage of official pornography on cable tv in the name of BBNaija! What do we count as gain? A country where indigent folks walk long distances in search of daily needs without shoes. What do we count as gain? A country where federal legislators each take home nearly N15m per month while civil servants who have rendered meritorious service to fatherland (or motherland) for 35 years and above queue up every month to collect pittances called pension that cannot take them home.

We have opened up our doors to insurgents and brigands who have continued to spit in our faces while we applaud them. They have mastered the use of gun against us.

And now this we count as gain,
To hand on to our children
A banner with stain...

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