Today is January 15. January 15, 1966 is the most profound day in the history of Nigeria yet. What happened on that day has affected Nigeria more profoundly than the events of October 1, 1960 when she attained Independence from British colonial rule. It has affected Nigeria more profoundly than the events of July 29, 1966 when there was a counter-coup. It has affected Nigeria more profoundly than the events of Thursday January 15, 1970 when the sad chapter of the Civil War formally closed. It has affected Nigeria more profoundly than the events of October 1, 1979 when Nigeria returned to civil rule after a long spell of military rule. It has affected Nigeria more profoundly than the events of June 12, 1993 when Nigeria jettisoned various typical leanings to vote for late Chief MKO Abiola of the Social Democratic Party, SDP. It has affected Nigeria more profoundly than the events of May 29, 1999 when the country returned to civil rule after another spell of military rule.
On January 15, 1966, the Frankenstein monster of fate used the instrumentality of Nigeria’s first coup to inject a terrible strain into the DNA of beloved Nigeria.
On that day, the Frankenstein monster assumed the form of a whirlwind and blew ferociously on the young building, the budding nation, crushing its pillars, and making it easy for flooded waters to compound the situation. And causing a typically gloomy shadow to rest on the country around this time every year.
Isn’t it time we allowed another kind of breeze blow the gloom that typically settles on the country every January 15? Isn’t time we become deliberate about the new dawn we could have regardless of what happened yesterday? Surely, we cannot forget but we can make the day itself, the days leading to it and the days after it, far less gloomy than they have been since 1966. The soberness that often accompanies the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, which is marked in the same season, is welcome but surely that subdued celebration will do with some lifting (How many remember the kind of lifting Sister Delores’ genius brought to once gloomy atmosphere in Sisters Act 1 and 2?).
It is the kind of lifting Nigeria may have if we nationalised GEXDN, Gifts Exchange Day Nigeria. Clearly, the day needs a tweaking and GEXDN might just be the button.
GEXDN is an idea that came out from something the sages and ancients believed. The sages and ancients say, Gifts make a way. Make a way for reconciliation. For reconnection. For renewal. For resurgence. For restart. For re-engagement. For renaissance. For recovery. For reconsideration. And for lots more.
If embraced, GEXDN (the day itself, the days leading to it, and the days after it) will become a day in which goodwill is tangibly transmitted among compatriots, using the agency of gifts. Of course, there is no room for any kind of Greek gifts on the day. Only gifts uncontaminated with ill-will. Gifts that indirectly acknowledges all the irreplaceable losses from yesterday and the possibilities inherent in mended relations. Tokens enabling nationwide appreciation, reflection, conversation and positive silence.
How many want to take back January 15 with GEXDN?