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Saturday, October 1, 2016

INDEPENDENCE DAY BLUES!

(Blast from the past. I look forward to the year I'll discard this article.)

   The Nigerian Independence day has come . I always have mixed feelings every time it comes around.  Why? Despite all the money pumped into the country, sometimes borrowed, the country doesn’t seem to be moving forward.  Some people spend their time blaming the colonial masters for taking different confederacies and gluing them together to form a country; some spend their time blaming the leaders past and present, then the rest don’t even care. Well, the general news is that our leaders are the problem the country has, they destroy the country by stealing away the money meant for the use of the public, they say.
This leads me to the heart of my thoughts on this. Our national anthem, which I regret to say, some don’t even know the words, others know it but recite it like a poem they had to cram. They don’t know the meaning of the words in the National anthem, especially the first line.

ARISE O COMPATRIOTS, NIGERIA’S CALL OBEY
TO SERVE OUR FATHERLAND
WITH LOVE AND STRENGTH AND FAITH
THE LABOURS OF OUR HEROES PAST
SHALL NEVER BE IN VAIN
TO SERVE WITH HEART AND MIGHT
ONE NATION BOUND IN FREEDOM
PEACE AND UNITY’

Well, the National anthem should be scrapped because it is nothing but a farce.
A dream never achieved. We have no compatriots and that is the truth. They are a dying breed. During the Independence Day celebration, everyone has on green and white costumes, they all change their display pictures to the Nigerian flag and their ringtones to the Nigerian anthem and I laughed. Nigeria is to be celebrated only for a day. At the end of that day, everything was forgotten. The leaders come out on TV, hold parties at the state houses and everywhere to celebrate ‘The independence day.’ Well, it is just another day to spend money and throw a party.
What you hear every Nigerian say is ‘Our leaders are the reason we can never move forward. They steal our money.’ And I say ‘Shut the hell up! You, yes you talking are the problem with the country.’ Be angry for all I care. You reading this post, you are the problem with Nigeria and not the leaders. How? Read on.

Ethnicity has killed us not our leaders. You hear parents telling their children.
 ‘You are a Yoruba girl’ ‘you are from Imo state.’ ‘You are an urhobo boy.’
No parent ever tells their child,’ You are a Nigerian.’ What’s wrong in telling your kids that? They make the kids aware of the division called tribe. I died a silent death when I heard a little girl of five tell another; ‘You are Yoruba. My mummy said all Yorubas are liars and I should not be friends with you.’ Imagine a kid at that age having that mentality. Children emulate their parents.  The African child grows up with the training that family is first and alone followed by your tribe. The universe exists of only you and your family. It’s a psychological process. They pick up their parents mannerisms and thought patterns. Well, whatever mummy and daddy does or says is true, the teacher inclusive. A couple are having a discussion in their car and their kid is present .Daddy almost hits a commercial motor cyclist and he blurts out; ‘all these Hausa abokis that have no value for their lives, boko haramites, they should be driven back to the north. They are disturbing our peace here.’ Little John is in the back seat listening to daddy, what do you think he’d take away from that. It goes on and on. Every parent all over the country passes this on to their kids. The kids make friends in schools only with kids from their tribe. They marry only from their tribe. They also give jobs only to people from their tribe because people from their tribe are the only ones that can be trusted.  One day, you dress up to go for an interview. The first question they ask is; ‘what state are you from?’ followed by ‘so, you are Hausa’. Who is conducting this interview you ask, it is no one but Little John now a man.  You are surprised when you are never called for the job even though you are the man with the best qualifications for the job. Why do you think our government parastatals and every other thing we have never goes smoothly. It’s ethnicity, tribalism, nepotism, favouritism or whatever name you choose to call it that is at fault not the leaders. Every Nigerian, from the poorest man on the street to the president of the country is guilty of this crime. Yes, it is a crime. You go to a government office and you see illiterates and semi illiterates plus people that have ABSOLUTE no knowledge of the job in top places. Let me not recant my experience on a visit to one of them. They put their children, their cousins, nephews, nieces, friends’ children and so on in such places. When the right people for these jobs roam the streets jobless. How can we move forward when you leave I that am more qualified to handle that contract for your nephew that has ABSOLUTELY no idea what the contract is about. How can our roads get better, when you give the contract to your friend? How can the Economy get better? How can Nigeria progress when there are round pegs in square holes all over the Nation because they are from a tribe you like or you know them?
It is worse in politics. Even if you were born and bred in a particular state so long as your name and your state of origin does not tally with what is evident in the state. Nobody cares if you have contributed immensely to the growth of the state. It is a Yoruba land and your name is Emeka, you must be high on cheap drugs to think you will become a simple local government chairman. If it’s the governorship of the state you are running for, the question on every one’s tongue is; ‘What is his name?’ once that is certified they move on to the next question; ‘What part of the state is he from?’ If you don’t believe me, sit still and think of all the election campaign posters you have ever seen in the state where you reside, have you seen any that doesn’t jive with the tribe evident in that state? Let’s not go to the presidential elections. Everybody knows it is turn by turn. Well, Goodluck is there today because the PDP decided that it was time for a man from the south –south or Niger delta to take over. They decided to let someone from the minority rule. Let’s not forget that it helped quell the disturbance in the Niger Delta. It was strategic and not because you stood up and went to vote. Yeah vote counts but, they handled his publicity and made him the underdog you fell in love with and voted for very well. We have zoning when it comes to the presidential elections. Today, it’s the North, tomorrow the West. Darn, I haven’t seen the East o.  Ok, maybe I’m wrong about the zoning thing or whatever they call it. Just kidding! It is how the country is ruled and the annoying thing is the best men to rule never get in. The worst man might be from the North but because it is their turn to rule, the man becomes the president.

You ask yourself how to stop the ethnicity and tribalism. Well, it begins with you. Your thoughts and actions will help make this country a better place. When you teach your kids, the pupils in your school that they are first and foremost a Nigerian before the tribe, things will get better. A serious plan has to be laid on ground to change this notion in every Nigerian state. Every Nigerian owes their allegiance to Nigeria. You are a patriot of Nigeria and not your tribe. When you always think towards this line, you will not put the wrong people in places of positions because of their tribes.
Imagine a kid growing up listening to how he is an Igbo boy and how other tribes are evil becoming the president of the country. He has been taught that Family is first and only. Others are evil and there to plan his downfall. There are witches from the village and all that crap. If he gets into a position of authority what do you think he is going to do? He will siphon the money meant for public use into an account for his family. So, you see our leaders are not the ones or only ones at fault. You are, we all are. It doesn’t start from adulthood and not from when they got into power.  It has been drummed into their heads endlessly by their nuclear and extended family from their childhood.

I’ve lingered long on Tribalism, Bribery and corruption and all its forms; racketeering, lobbying, nepotism, favouritism etc is next.  Every Nigerian is corrupt and practices the act not just the leaders.  A school of thought would say that trade by barter grew into bribery and corruption. I want something, so I offer you cash or kind to help me get it.  Another school of thought would say that it is part of the African culture to carry gifts to a man if you want to ask him for something. Ok, I confess the school of thoughts are in my head or from my head but it is true. Children grow with the acceptance that if you want something from me you have to offer me something else before I can help you or give it to you. They hear their parents say ‘something goes for anything.’ ‘Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.’ The school wants a new library, so they promote me even though I failed so my father will sponsor the construction. Are my so daft that I don’t notice the way it works. Don’t forget the family factor. That is why when an airline comes to my office to approve their forty year old death cargoes containers called aeroplanes , I willingly approve them because they have given me a large Ghana must go bag filled with hard currency and I don’t care for anyone else but myself and my family. Look at it; selfishness and greed are the roots of bribery and corruption. How can the country move ahead when this is my mentality and yours too? I am awarded a contract to build roads, I take the money but first I settle the people that should have come after me for not carrying it out with part the money meant for the contract? Do you think if I have been groomed this way and believe in this system and I enter a position of power in government tomorrow that I will do otherwise? Old habits die hard. That would be an opportunity for me to do more. Bribery and corruption can only be stopped by you. Think this questions; What am I leaving behind for my children and their children’s’ children? How will this decision affect the future generation of which my descendants are part of?

I will be ending this long post with the third biggest factor; Religion. Religion has killed Nigeria. I am a Christian and you are a Muslim, we have nothing in common. (TO READ MORE ON THIS VISIT THE BLOG POST 'RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION'). During the last presidential elections, people asked only two questions. ‘What tribe is he from?’ and ‘Is he a Christian or a Muslim?’ I even heard some rebuke voting for a Muslim to become the president. Even to get a job your religious preference is important. The Christians discriminate amongst themselves with what they call denominations. The Muslims have theirs too. Religion is the major reason of the recurrent loss of lives and property in the Northern part of Nigeria since Independence.

Wow, this is my longest post. I could go on and it will be longer or divide it into two posts but the impact will be lost in the middle. Please do study the National anthem carefully. It’s a pity the fathers of nationalism and independence even though they had their own prejudices and biases fought for a country that is now lost. If turning the country into a confederacy as it should rightly be is the solution then why not but who would agree to that when one part of the nation has the black gold? If we must live together then we must get it right and preach the words of patriotism. It breaks my heart when I hear words such as ‘I resemble government?’ ‘Abeg na naija we dey, every man for him own.’ ‘ No be naija, if you wan make I help you, you must play the game.’ And other unpatriotic words.  You and I can change Nigeria for today and for our children. Call me a dreamer but Martin Luther King Jr and other black freedom fighters had a dream years ago and today, a black man is the president of the United States of America.

We will never have the Nigeria of our dreams unless we take matters in our hands and change our ways. We are not truly free. Whatever comes from outside the shores of Nigeria is Superior and what is made here is Inferior, how does that speak for patriotism. Our leaders are not the problem. Patriotism doesn’t start when you get elected. It starts with our everyday life and decisions in our small positions as a father, mother, uncle, aunty etc. It is with our thoughts and actions. Tomorrow, you and I will replace those leaders in that position of power. Our children will learn from us and take over too. Are we prepared to learn from the mistakes of past leaders and do better? The journey to a working Nigeria is here. It begins now. It begins with you.  Arise o compatriots and obey Nigeria’s call. Cheers!


6 comments:

  1. Nice one.really got me thinking.i think u r so right.i wish we cud all put all dis in practice.our country wud sure be a better one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. its sad but true. we are not patriots, rather we are passer-bys in a country with no loyalty towards it. we need this kind of reminders from time to time. thanks for this.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is a great piece dear. As individuals, we owe it to ourselves to first apportion the blame on ourselves as Nigerians.
    When that is done,the next step is to try changing ourselves. It is commonly said that,'little drops of water make a mighty ocean'. Imagine if Nigerians all make an elaborate effort towards an inner change!!! It'll begin to radiate in our entire nation, thereby giving us a better outlook.
    We should go back to the days of total patriotism and defense of our nation and come together as a family to ensure we remain one in unity and peace.
    God bless Nigeria!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. ALWAYS NYC PIECES FROM U. U DO US PROUD FRANCES, CARRY GO...

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is message for us All - I've heard a Religious woman ii love and respect say that a particular Tribe should be brought out and Shot Dead; ii Totally lost Faith in her. These messages would be well received when we turn them into home videos cos personally ii don't read much, reading this is a miracle for me and we know ourselves too. We love to watch Home Videos.

    ReplyDelete

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