When you sing these lines in the national anthem:

“The labours of our heroes past

Shall never be in vain… ”

Do you just sing it because everyone else is chorusing it or do you sing it with some depth? Do you actually know the meaning of these words? 

I visited Freedom Park yesterday. Freedom park was formerly Broad street prison. It was built by the British colonial government in 1882 with thatch and mud but because the locals(our heroes past) kept burning it up, the British decided to rebuild with bricks in 1885. The total budget for the prison was 16000 pounds while the budget for education was seven hundred pounds. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about this piece of information. 

Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Herbert Macaulay and Pa Michael Imoudu; some of the people who kept agitating for freedom and equal rights were incarcerated here, in overcrowded cell blocks not more than 4ft by 8ft. Yet, they didn’t give up the fight. They are the reason why you’re not walking around with shackles on your hand and feet, watching as your wife gets raped and your children get sold into slavery. 

In 2010, the prison was turned into a Park and rechristened Freedom Park. It was designed by Architect, Theo Lawson. It is now a place of fun and great beauty, but it is also a place of quiet reflection, a positive reminder of our history and how far we’ve come as a people.

Freedom Park is one more reason to believe in Nigeria, one more reason to believe that we are not hopeless, we have a future. It is very inspiring how so much beauty could come from such dire, bleak situations. Now, I sing the National Anthem so much better. 

Watch this slideshow I made…. 

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