Poem: The Great Day, 1st October 1960

Nigeria, Once a stateless community, Divided into Kingdoms and Chiefdoms,
A community with so many diverse peoples and culture
A community which once had no unity,
No cooperation nor political structure,
Instead which was full of ethnic rivals.
Nigeria, a place which once fell prey to imperial rule,
Condemnation and injustice, Stolen of Her fertile land,
A place which was forced out of Her age old traditions, And Her beautiful culture, believing it was barbaric,
And thereafter lured into Colonial bondage.
A society which was stolen of Her confidence, As well as Her right to stand,
Deceived into believing that She has got no background,
And rubbed off the right to manage and rule on Her own,
A community which despite all odds, Put aside Her differences as pertaining ethnicity, And fought bravely to stand on Her own.
After so many years of struggle, So many years of being divided into different sides,
Many years of suffering in the hands of the whiteman,
Who conspired against the country’s progress, And claimed to be some kind of demigod, The society saw it fit to stand tall,
And fight for her birthright to rule herself.
After several years of horrible experiences,
A great country was born and named, NIGERIA, Once referred to as the Niger area, Now, an area filled with so many great achievements,
A country whose birth was pronounced, Beginning from the 1914 amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates,
And whose birth became official on October 1st, 1960.
October 1st serves as a great and commendable day,
Birthed out of the country’s strength to determine her future, A great day which signifies the outbreak from wounds,
The wounds sustained from aliens, Aliens who deprived her of the right to stand on her feet,
This great day stands for the death of colonial rule, And the birth of a great and prosperous country, NIGERIA.
October 1st signifies the birth of a concrete foundation, A foundation which we all live on today,
It signifies freedom off the clinch of the whiteman, Who saw nothing in snatching away what the country possessed,
This day mounted healing on the injuries, Injuries which she sustained in the days of war,
All in all, it signifies a great victory, That which cannot be over emphasized.
October 1st marks the day to celebrate the birth of a great country,
The victory which was proclaimed on this day was not an accident, But a wonderfully sketched out success,
A success which paved way for the different peoples to come together,
And freely jubilate over a remarkable victory.
Year after year, this day is often celebrated in a unique way,
This day marks the struggle of great icons and legends who fought for this great country,
Their legacies remain a mark in the country’s independence, An independence which was birthed through hardship,
A time when many lives were lost, And a time when Icons lost their lives fighting,
Their courage remains a thing of recommendation, And a thing to be proudly celebrated.
October 1st is a day which can never be forgotten, It marked the coming together of so many ethnic groups, Into one great nation,
It marked the beginning of a political standard, Ought to ensure peace and unity, October 1st birthed unity and freedom,
It would indeed always be remembered, It signifies the day Nigeria attained freedom,
Freedom for self emancipation, And of course serves as a platform for an unforgettable victory,
A great victory to be remembered for many centuries to come.
Many years have gone by, Yet still joyfully celebrated, Once an ageless country,
Today this same country is 59, And still standing strong,
For generations to come to enjoy freedom, contentment and benevolence.
I/we say a very big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all of us, Because we stand for Nigeria,
We signify one Nigeria, One people, and one great Nation,
God bless all of us and God bless NIGERIA!!!!
– Idris Salamatu
A 200 Level student of History and International Studies,
Faculty of Arts and Humanities,
Kogi State University, Anyigba.

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