BY SENATOR EHIGIE UZAMERE
Nigeria got independence from Britain in 1960 and it was to herald our emancipation from British rule and undue influence.
No matter the downplay of historic and cultural peculiarities of amalgamated ethnic groups that make up Nigeria, we still have maintained our distinctiveness.
The Benins are lucky to have forebears who were brave and strong. The ancient Benin Kingdom was one of splendor and strength.
Oba Ovonramwen’s role that led to his being exiled to Calabar by the British, was that of strength and bravery. Our history is replete with men and women of valor.
I am therefore at a loss over our lack of independence today in our own State where we’re in the majority. And here Bob Marley’s words resonate. I see us as being mentally enslaved.
Our seeming inability to stand up to what we ought to be, is as a result of mental slavery.
Only us can free ourselves from this state of inertia. Our forbears have done their part. What is left is for us to look up to them, draw strength from their achievements and assert ourselves.
Over the years, people from outside our ethnic group have decided who among us gets what. This is despite the fact that we are in the majority.
We are more populous and have one of the strongest and enduring monarchy to the envy of other ethnic nationalities, yet we seem too laid back.
As we approach year 2020, I believe that time is now to regain our pride. Time is now for us to grab those things that bind us and use them for better cohesion and progress.
Now is time to jettison all that divide us, and the greatest of dividing factors is selfishness. Now therefore is time to forget self for a greater Benin. It is not too late to start now. We need to break this state of servitude we have been under, since 1999. May God give us the wisdom to love Benin above self.
It will profit us to always remember these words of our Benin elders:
Akugbe oretin iwanegbe orudemwen.
I wish us all a purpose-filled, blessed and prosperous year 2020.
In God I trust!6