The Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba (Dr.) Lekan Balogun is one of the elites who witnessed the era of colonialism and how the country gained independence in 1960. A former senator representing Oyo Central Senatorial District, and an academic and public commentator, the monarch reviewed the country’s journey to the current state and concluded that Nigerian citizens, not just the leaders, can create the land of their dreams. He spoke with Southwest Bureau Chief BISI OLADELE
Our dear country Nigeria clearly can’t legitimize being 63 years of age as a free country. Sadly, it was not what we conceived as youthful grown-ups when the nation became free in 1960. The expectation was extremely high and curiously, the start was not terrible, however the political tricks coordinated by the separating English frontier aces gave us an unstable beginning. We didn’t endure it because of the January 15, 1966 military putsch. One can continue endlessly, listing the different stumbles that drove us to this current situation with filth and nearly turning into a bombed state.
Would you say that Nigeria is better as an independent nation than it was under colonialism?
The answer would be an emphatic ‘yes,‘ especially if we look at the country through the prism of what the generation of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo did in governance as premiers of the three regions of West (Awolowo), East (Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe) and North (Sir Ahmadu Bello) in the 50s shortly before we got independence.
In any case, the reality of the situation is that assuming that the nation was better being controlled by provincial experts, there wouldn’t be disturbances, an unquenchable one so far as that is concerned for our freedom. To presently say that Nigeria was better under the English pilgrim aces than as an autonomous country resembles tossing back our opportunity at the essences of our principal architects who participated in the battle for our autonomy. Whatever occurs, nothing can measure up to opportunity. Regardless of the current difficulties, we owe our chiefs then appreciation for freeing us from the shackles of bondage.