Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A THOUGHT FOR NIGERIA


Before I say anything, I need to stress the fact that I am broke! As in, I need money like a plant needs water. On Saturday, I understood what it means to be really broke. I was on my way to Lekki Phase 1 and somehow I made a big mistake of entering a public bus. Well, it wasn’t really a mistake in the true sense of it because I had a choice but somehow in being careful of my financial capability at that time, I decided to do what I had to do. I had an appointment for 12 noon and I ended up arriving at my appointment location at around 1.45pm. Reason: Traffic! It was at this point that I really understood what the recent roadwork around the Lekki roundabout had really caused. Bloggers who live in Lekki and its environs would definitely understand what I am talking about. There’s been a move lately to eliminate the popular Lekki roundabout and this action has indeed caused untold hardship for commuters all over the Lekki axis. It’s been an ordeal and the only option in order not to arrive late for appointments remains taking a motorbike (otherwise known as ‘okada’). The solution sounds pretty easy except for the fact that the exorbitant fares would nearly drive you nuts, especially if you happen to be a ‘little broke’ like I was on that day. I just couldn’t afford to pay N400 from Ajah to Lekki Phase 1 and so for N70, I had to endure the hardship of sitting in a stuffy bus for almost two hours for a journey that ordinarily shouldn’t have taken less than twenty minutes. Tragic!



This post should have been done over two weeks ago in celebration of Nigeria’s independence but I just couldn’t find the time but then the fact that we are still in October makes it just okay to write a post in commemoration of our beloved country’s 49th birthday. I attended a church service on 4th of October that was more or less an ‘independence celebration service’ judging by my pastor’s sermon and other activities that took place in church on that day. In the course of listening to my pastor’s message, I got a further confirmation that indeed Nigeria still has a bright future and the fact that most of us have lost faith in this country hardly helps matters. In his sermon, my pastor explained that Nigeria has indeed got a wonderful future and a simple equation is all the country needs to get on the right track. The much publicized re-branding slogan should be analyzed first. Nigeria as a country in the effort to re-brand its bastardized image touts the new logo: Nigeria; Good People, Great Nation! Indeed! Our beloved country, instead of being congratulated and cheered by the international community has over the past months been ridiculed and attacked by the same international community with strong condemnation of our ‘re-branding exercise’ being an exercise in futility, and unfortunately, I agree with this judgment. Nigeria as a nation needs a total overhaul of its economy and not a foolish re-branding exercise. The so-called re-branding is like ‘wearing new clothes for a child who’s not had a bath in years’. Why not bath the kid first and then put some new clothes on him. My conclusion is Nigeria needs total deliverance.

In his sermon, my pastor explained that the ‘Nigeria; Good People, Great Nation’ catchphrase is an obvious farce at best because no nation can become truly great without the correct leadership. The future of the nation rests largely on the leadership since those in control of the country in a strong way determine what happens in the country. It is pretty easy to conclude that our lives and future as a nation are in the hands of these leaders and their actions go a long way in determining how far our nation would go and our rating in the sphere of things globally. Rather than pose with the unrealistic logo, it is best revised as: ‘Nigeria; Good People, Great Leadership, Great Nation’ for it is only when good people have the right leadership that a great nation could truly emerge. We need to have leaders who truly care about the affairs of the nation and not just themselves and their families. It is common practice in Nigeria today to rejoice whenever a close relative or someone you happen to know gets to a position of power politically. You find Nigerians with relatives who are local government chairmen, commissioners, governors or even local government councilors among other political positions thanking God continually and making statements like “Thank God o! It’s our time to enjoy!” Even devout Christians and Muslims who claim they are not corrupt make these same statements unconsciously. I now find myself wondering what these people mean when they decide it’s time to enjoy. Literarily, this means that your relative who gets to a position of power is there basically to serve JUST YOU and meet ONLY YOUR needs. If he does anything contrary, you begin to heap curses on him and claim ‘he has bitten the fingers that fed him’ especially if you happen to have done one little favour or more for him in the past. How pathetic? How would he meet your extraordinary needs without dipping his fingers into public money? How would your relative or friend perform his sworn responsibilities to the country when he has to think of what you and the rest of his siblings, family members and friends are asking him for?

The average Nigerian has come to totally subscribe to the ‘life is all about me’ policy. We are so individualistically-minded that we do not give a hoot about to others so long as we are okay. No country can move forward with this mentality. This mindset would only bring evil and all that come with evil as well. Leading a nation entails working towards achieving a collective goal or agenda. Every member of a group has individual goals and agendas too but for that group to succeed there is a strong need to place the general and collective agenda above any individual agenda. The moment a leader begins to place his personal agenda (his family’s and friends’ inclusive) above the collective agenda, he has defeated the purpose of the group’s collective agenda and that group cannot succeed. That is the basic problem Nigeria has today. Every one goes up there to represent himself (or herself) and not the country. If only our leaders would have a heart for the people, we would realize all our long awaited dreams and Nigeria will truly become the ‘great nation’ it claims to be. I believe there is a great future for our nation and we can begin to effect the much needed change from this moment. In a spiritual dimension, I was made to understand that the ‘49’ mark is pretty significant especially because it marks the dawn of the year of jubilee which is the 50th year. According to the Holy Bible, in the 50th year, all slaves in Israel are set free and a great feast is declared unto the Lord as a celebration of the dawn of a new generation. The fact that Nigeria is celebrating her 49th year of independence should indeed mark a new beginning for each and every one of us as citizens of this country. We are at the dawn of the year of jubilee and we need to tap into the spiritual significance of this and work towards the realization of all the promises associated with this occurrence.

It is also worthy of note that the salvation of our country doesn’t just rest with a great leadership. It actually begins with us as citizens of this great country. What is our attitude when it has to do with things that pertain to Nigeria? It is so easy to hear statements like “Nigeria is a useless country.” “I hate this country.” “Fuck this country.” “Nigeria can never be better,” etc. Realistic as these statements may sound, it does little to help the nation move forward. In a spiritual dimension, our confessions greatly matter and as such, it greatly helps when we make positive confessions about our lives and our country. We need to begin to believe in our country, Nigeria once again. It is so funny that citizens of Nigeria hardly pay any significant attention to the words of the national anthem and the national pledge. These are perhaps the words with the strongest spiritual significance yet most of us hardly take this fact into cognizance. One secret of the world’s greatest countries is the love of the citizens for their country. If citizens of Nigeria truly love their country, there are so many things that are done today that would not be done. We hear of endless cases of armed robbery, corruption, violence, unaccountability, slothfulness and nonchalance on the part of citizens and the government at all levels towards the affairs of the country and we wonder if there’s any hope for this country. I took time to study the words of the national anthem and the national pledge and realized the power that lies within those words we recite carelessly every day and take for granted. It is such a pity that most of us have even forgotten the words of our national anthem and national pledge. It has gotten so bad that even the young ones who have little or nothing on their minds find it hard to remember these words of commitment. It is hi-time children begin to be taught the need for total devotion to their country from childhood. It is so common to hear Americans say “God bless America!” Nigerians should be able to confidently say “God bless Nigeria!” and mean it in their heart’s deepest recesses. If only we could truly recite the words of the national anthem and pledge with our hearts, the country would indeed progress at a greater speed. Please, take time to digest the words of the national anthem below and see how indeed powerful these words are and how much impact they could make in our lives if only they are genuinely recited. The national anthem reads:

Arise, O compatriots
Nigeria’s call obey
To serve our fatherland
With love and strength and faith
The labour of our heroes past
Shall never be in vain
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom
Peace and unity

O God of creation
Direct our noble cause
Guide our leaders right
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation
Where peace and justice shall reign

I would however dwell more on the national pledge. It is necessary to note that whenever we utter the words of the national anthem or the national pledge, we are making a confession that is binding on us and any action that counters our confessions make us despicable in the eyes of our Creator. The national pledge in itself is actually a promise, an oath and any action taken by us contrary to the words we recite in this national pledge makes us unfit to stand before the Lord’s sight because the Almighty God greatly despises lips that speak lies. The words of our national pledge read:

I pledge to Nigeria, my country
To be faithful, loyal and honest
To serve Nigeria with all my strength
To defend her unity
And uphold her honour and glory
So help me God

These are indeed strong words to speak and not honouring these words make us liars and infidels who are not fit to live. As Nigerians, we need to search our hearts and discover in what ways we have not been faithful to our country and address these areas accordingly. Have we been loyal to Nigeria in our words, thoughts and actions? Have we been honest? Do we serve this country with all our strength or partially? Do we pray Nigeria stays united or we prefer the country is divided? Do we actually do things that uphold Nigeria’s honour and prestige internally and among the committee of nations? In reciting the pledge, we have made a vow and we need to keep that vow. The fact remains that if only Nigerians could truly love Nigeria and work towards the progress of the country, Nigeria would not only move forward but would be among the world’s greatest nations in a short while. The ball is in our court. We are the only ones who could decide our future.

GEEBEE’S TRIP WILL CONTINUE IN THE NEXT POST.

You could read the latest episode of GEEBEE’S TRIP here.

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