By Sam Eyoboka
LAGOS — FEW days to the 50th anniversary of Nigeria’s political independence, the man who first moved the motion for independence in 1953, Chief Anthony Enahoro, has again lamented the state of the nation’s union, saying “this is not the nation we fought for.”
Speaking at a news conference in Lagos to flag off campaign for the national flag under the slogan “Light the Touch, Raise Your Flag for a New Nigeria” campaign, Enahoro who was represented by the National co-ordinator of Action Group of Nigeria, Sir Wale Ogunnniyi averred that those who had held the mantle of leadership in the country had not adequately appreciated the importance of the Green-White-Green colours in the national flag.
According to the elder statesman, for the campaign to make any significant impact, it must be targeted at the nation’s leadership so that they can believe in the symbol and the nation’s flag which was designed by Pa Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi.
“They must be made to know why they must repent and lead the nation in purity in line with the vision of the founding fathers of the country,” he said, stressing that such is a sure way for the emergence of a new Nigeria of our collective dream.
Speakers representing different groups at the forum also called on the National Assembly to pass a bill that will ensure that individuals, groups, corporate organisations and others are sanctioned for abusing the National Flag. They later marched in a procession to the Lagos State Government House in Alausa.
The groups, including The Building Our National Image Flag Project, BONI and the Partnership For A New Nigeria, PFANN—an offshoot of Elishama Ideh Foundation, lamented that in most institutions, the national flag was being grossly abused and called for a legislation to curb such abuse.
The groups called on Nigerians, home and in diaspora to raise a flag and sing the first and second stanzas of the National Anthem and ending it with the phrase God Bless Nigeria by noon on October 1, 2010 in solidarity and honour to the nation.
National Co-ordinator, BONI, Solanke Akinola decried that 50 years down the line, the nation had become an object of scorn, disregard and disrespect flying tattered national flags on rusted poles in “our schools, banks, government and public buildings.
“We call on the Federal Government and the legislators to, with immediate effect, review our existing flag laws and make provisions in the law that will allow for fining and punishment of offenders who treat our flag otherwise.”
In her submission, founder, PFANN, Evangelist Elishama Ideh said the objective of the “Light the Touch, Raise Your Flag for a New Nigeria” campaign was to primarily engage and inspire participation of all Nigerians both home and abroad to be part of “this one in a life time jubilee celebration.