The Flag and Coat of Arms Ordinance Act No.48 of September 16, 1960 established the Nigeria Flag as one of the national symbols intended to build patriotism and foster unity among Nigerians as the nation was about to gain her Independence. While it is commendable that the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has decided to mark this day, it is equally important to note that this day, September 16, is Nigeria’s Ordinance day. Unfortunately, the significance of this day is lost on most Nigerians and the Nigerian Child of this latter day.
The flag which was hoisted officially for the first time on October 1,1960, was meant to be not just a unifying tool but an inspiring symbol which will continually awaken our patriotic sentiments and love of ‘our own dear native land’. It is one of the most significant but easily accessed symbols of our Independence. Today, Nigerians will fly with pride flags of other countries while treating the green –white-green with disdain. We fail to connect with the importance of this symbol because its value and the weight are lost on us. A number Nigerians and the Nigerian child do not know that it is not a physical structure that defines an embassy but the presence of a nation’s flag. Wherever a country’s flag is hoisted, a territory is defined and secured and people can seek asylum within the defined area.
Maltreatment of the Nigerian flag is punishable under the Ordinance Act because it is an offence against the Ordinance. Sadly, like all things ‘Nigerian’ we have watched with dismay a gradual eroding of this symbol of independence. This problem is exacerbated by an education sector that has lost focus and its sense of responsibility to the nation and the people. The education ministry and its policy makers and executors have sold Nigeria and the people of Nigeria for peanuts. They patronise schools founded on foreign curricula that churn out nothing but destructive values that target the fabric of our society.
The present generation of Nigerian children have no idea of the history of their country but they can reel off with relish American and British heroes and their many ‘laudable’ achievements. We are being gradually recolonised mentally and applauding it with all we’ve got. Cultural imperialism is the worse form of colonism because it attacks your culture and language, your beliefs, and your sense of worth. What we are seeing today is a planting season which gestation result will be a generation lost in the wilderness of psychological homelessness. A people who belong to nowhere and totally without direction.
It is against this background that we salute the NOA and its Director-General Mike Omeri for this effort. We also call on this administration to appreciate that the war against corruption and related ills in the society cannot be won without adequate attention to the re-orientation of the people of this country. Let’s start that war in earnest now.