Saturday, June 17, 2017


Nigeria, my country, is not a failed state. And I resent the idea that any foreigner, should refer to it as such. But when it is a person or a group of persons, born and raised in Nigeria that refers to Nigeria as such, I am really left fuming.

Referring to one's birthplace with such a negative connotation does not make any one intelligent, revolutionary,  or smart. It only shows a lack of wisdom and lack of gratefulness. If you were born in Nigeria less than five decades ago, and are able to communicate fluently in English, chances are that you went through Nigeria's primary and secondary institutions of learning, as imperfect as they may be.  And for some of those making these careless statements, chances are that they went through its university system, paying next to nothing.  

True, what constitutes Nigeria is an amalgam of tribes, with different tongues, languages and religious affiliation as our initial National anthem proclaimed, and  brought together by no formal agreement. Moreover, not one of these tribes was asked if they wanted to participate in the union. And since then, uncountable misteps have been taken by those who are put in position of authority. Do these facts really constitute failure? And isn't the case with most of the countries of this world?

The only difference betweeen us and others, in most instances, is the resilience with which we, Nigerians have borne the burden of coexistence. In every nook and crany of our country today, we find Nigerians with diverse cultures living together, and trying to eke out a living in spite of all odds.

And truly, the odds are aplenty, we are cursed with bad leadership who cater for themselves and their immediate families only; who see corruption as their only mode of operation; and are never tired of self aggrandizement.  Consequently, we travel on bad roads; live daily with sputtering electricity supply; contend with lack of adequate water supply, are aggravated by constant ethnic bickerings that often erupt in violence and even in war, that threaten the very existence of our nation. etc.

Yet, I am thankful to God for what Nigeria has given me and for the progress Nigeria has made in my lifetime. I was there when Nigeria had only one university college, and now there are  hundreds of universities and tertiary institutions. I remember when the total number of secondary school students in my state were no more  than three thousand. Now, these number will not populate a respectable secondary school. That is progress. I was there when there was no more than a handful of telephones in my state.

And in comparison with other nations of the world, and given our own diverse tribes, tongues and religious affiliations, we Nigerians have performed wonderfully, not minding  the fact that we have been through a major war to get to where we are today. Incoming Europeans simply murdered en masse, may be millions of natives living in countless communities scattered all over the wide expanse of land and speaking different languages, to achieve what we now know as America. The remaining humans were simply stuck into reservations not of their own choosing. People not of the European stock were shipped into the land and used as slaves and worse than beasts of burden. And up till today, the black people of the 'great'country America are still struggling to find their footing, many having been mentally impaired by the tragedy of slavery and enslavement. The millions of people murdered to create the Roman Empire were not asked if they wanted to be part of it.

"Towards a more perfect union," The Americans would say. This means that even in God's own country, things are not perfect. And anyone visiting there immediately experiences it's imperfections from the get go. And surely, they do not intend to throw away the baby with the bathwater.

Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. However, a perception of failure in one's own country reveals the contradictions in one's own internal furnishings. It goes to tell the world that one is not even willing or able to lift a finger to be of use to one's self and motherland. For what discussion is there after one's own admission of  failure?

Any person that seeks to be somebody in life first seeks the welfare of his own people. His own country, is his own first and most important possesion. According to a Yoruba saying, 'Only a bastard uses his left hand to identify his father's abode.' On the other hand a purposeful man continually seeks to repair the leeking roof and fix the delapidated walls. He says to himself, 'my father has done his best with what he had. It is now left for me to make this home a better abode for me and my brethren.' And that is the place we are at as Nigerians. The longing for heroes and past glory is the stock in trade of fools. Another adage says only a newborn babe with no intention of living in the first place dies on the day of circumcision.

We, particularly those who live in distant and more developed lands, have a lot to do in making Nigeria home for the 200 million of us. It is no use whining incessantly about how bad things are at home. We, at home, already got the message. Now, let us have meaningful solutions from everyone. More than this, let us participate in our own individual ways in the development of Nigeria.

Enough of the cacophony and useless proclamations. Let work begin.

I rest my case.

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