Nigeria at 58: which way my people!
By Emmanuel Oghenekaro Eyafimoni
Nigeria, Oh Nigeria! I love my fatherland. What a land so blessed diversely.
Over the years, Nigeria has really come a long way. We’ve been through different types of circumstances, yet, we are still together. We’ve tasted different types of leadership under different atmospheres.
Long ago, we were on our own living the best way we know how to. After some time, we came under colonial rulership that lasted for decades. Having seen all they had to offer us, we agitated for independence which was granted though not without a fight.
Since independence, a lot has really unfolded.
Looking back at the years gone by, much has really be done, yet, here we are. We have taken so many steps forward, yet, here we are. Different regimes have come and gone who promised to take us to the place our founding father foresaw, yet, here we are. Different paradigms have been tried in all spheres, still, here we are. But don’t you think we need to sit down and ask ourselves some critical questions?
Our founding fathers had to put their lives on the line to fight for independence because they foresaw a greener earth for Nigeria being under our own government. But looking back at the years gone by, what testimony have we got? Is this the future our founding fathers foresaw that motivated them to stake their lives to fight for us to lead ourselves?
Having come this far, we need to have some moment of reflection, reconsideration, and redirection. We need to make a candid and vivid appraisal to see how far we’ve gone from where we started and how close we are to our supposed destination.
Nigeria as a land to the best of my knowledge is not disadvantaged in the allotment of natural resources. Not only that we are naturally endowed, but also humanly resourceful. And this can be justified by the plethora of men and women who have made giant strides in various spheres which cannot be forgotten in a hurry in history.
Thus far we’ve been running with both individual and collective visions in minds towards the desired end. But will it not be important to sit down for a moment to review the journey so far, to be sure if the many steps we’ve taken in all ramifications is taking us any closer to our desired destinations?
As a bonafide citizen of this great country, I have always concerned myself critically and rationally with the issues that pertain to the land of my birth. I have looked at issues both subjectively and objectively and, I have seen some “unwanted strangers” in the land. These strangers have birthed diverse impediments to our individual and collective growth. Several thars have been sown among the wheat we’ve labored to sow over the years. And this indeed has reduced our yield in achieving a greener earth.
More clearly, these “unwanted strangers” do not literally mean people from other lands inhabiting our land. Rather, they are the strange practices, philosophies, beliefs, and doctrines that were not so from the beginning. These are the evils that preoccupied the minds of our people and has infiltrated and overgrown the land. These have yielded us regrettable and almost irrecoverable losses. And this is symbolized by the socio-political catastrophes and economic downsloping in the land. Political Godfatherism, nepotism, favoritism and ethnocentricism has taken the place of vision for a greener earth. And if urgent, realistic and pragmatic steps are not taken to ward off these strangers and sanitize the land, our communal ship may not escape shipwreck in the ocean of mediocrity and stagnation.
Indeed, the challenges bedeviling the land since independence are fundamentally traceable to leadership missing links. Like John C. Maxwell said,”everything rises and falls on leadership”.
No nation can grow beyond its leadership capacity. A nation headed by people who are driven by and for their bellies cannot progress.
It is indeed very pathetic and pitiable for a nation whose leaders put selfish interest ahead of the common good of the land. A leadership that is not bent on pursuing timely and holistic goals for the progress of its people will always lead to a deplorable state of living.
The greatest medicine for an ailing system is sound leadership. A leadership manned by people who are immeasurably patriotic, selfless, accountable, accessible,people-oriented, capable and dependable. Leaders who operate with the spirit of statesmanship and national patriotism in all their dealings.
This is not to despise the breakthroughs we’ve achieved so far, but the fact that we are not where we ought to be is on it’s own a clarion call to wake and do more. The fact that the achievement of yesterday cannot match the demands of today cannot be negated.
Nigeria is a country that is highly culturally resourceful only that we are yet to maximally harness the hidden treasures therein. Instead of the multicultural, multiethnic and multi-religious makeup being a force for building a more united front to strive for greatness as a nation, we look more divided along these cultural and religious lines. This has made all cohesive apparatus in the country less effective and almost useless.
There is a dire need for us to put all religious and tribal differences aside and begin to live as one body of many parts if we must achieve our collective dream of a greener earth. We need to forget about where and how we are different and be driven by what we have in common – the love of the one nation that binds us together.
We need to appreciate our differences and relate with each other with mutual respect. No matter how different we are, there can always be unity in diversity. Instead of individual groups fighting for what would only benefit their own, we should all fight for the common good of the land. Remember, until the impact of development is felt across board, we can’t really say we are growing as a nation.
Moreso, we need detribalized advocates and intercessors who will speak with roaring voices and make indomitable moves with unwavering courage and mission unchanged. If we can’t get these people, then we will invent them.
However, the need for a more fruitful leadership has to be counterbalanced with fruitful followership. Followers who would partner the leadership to take the land to the next level and not carefree people who feel less concerned with the affairs of the land. We need followers who will not go about singing the praises of those in power even when things are going wrong all because of selfish interests. We need followers who will appreciate every success achieved by the leadership in the land while providing constructive criticism when needed.
To achieve our collective dream of a greater nation and a greener earth, we need to work on our minds, for that’s the seat of all victories and defeats.
David Oyedepo rightly posited when he said: “we don’t have third-world countries anywhere, we only have third world minds.” Every fruit we have harvested thus far are the products of the seeds sown afore time.
Note that the land will only be as productive as the mind of the people is. We cannot grow bigger than we think.
Albert Einstein once said that “the problems we faced today cannot be solved on the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” We need to reorient and redirect our thinking towards a greater Nigeria. We can only change and expand the fortunes of the nation the extent we’ve changed and expanded our minds.
My people, we cannot afford to crawl when we have the impulse and the wings to fly unto higher summits. Enough of our people leaving the shores of Nigeria in search of a greener pasture elsewhere. If we can make our land greener than it is now, then our people will have more reasons to stay back and bring their resourcefulness to bear.
Enough of this pocket politics that has ruined our nation for years.
To achieve this, you have a role, so do I.
Together, we can make Africa great!
Together, we can make Nigeria great!
Nigeria is our land, our home and we have no other place we can call home. So, let’s make it a better place for all!
Long live Africa!
Long live Nigeria!
Long live my people!
I believe in Nigeria, and I’m proud to be a Nigerian!
Your fellow Compatriot,
Emmanuel Oghenekaro Eyafimoni