Nigeria is our homeland whether we appreciate her or not (and the sooner we begin to appreciate her, the better for us and for our future). Yes we are Nigerians either by birth (as citizens with natural inheritances and rights) or by naturalization. That is what we are Nigerians. We have gone through a whole lot in the history of our making but we are still what we areâ€”Nigerians. We are a nation of pride and culture. We have been beating down in history but not destroyed. We are still standing in hopes in the midst of some still existing problems. When people say Nigeria needs urgent change, this in no way does imply a trans-location of the countryâ€™s geographical enclave to a difference global space or country. It involves a sort of ethical transformative thinking and living standards. It has to do with the overhauling of the mentality of the Nigerians to think in terms of service, patriotism and nation building.
The above line in the Nigerian National Anthem urges us â€˜to serve our fatherland, with love and strength and faithâ€™. Three principles are necessarily standing out hereâ€”strength, love and faith. With these positive factors any nation would soar like eagle in the highest heavens of progress. A good patriot is one who invests resourcefulness, energy and love in the service of his/her homeland. And it does not just end there; he/she also has faith in his/her countryâ€™s interests without which any nation can sustain itself via political, social, economic, cultural and techno-scientific growth.
No nation thrives where genuine service, love of hard work and faith in honesty, truth, justice, equality etc, do not govern people interior and ulterior motifs. The call to service here does not just end in the one year federal government mandated NYSC service. It is rather a call for a sincere devotion in the future and interest of Nigeria. To examine how much we love and have faith in Nigeria, we need to ask ourselves some cardinal questions: what am I doing to make Nigeria great? What have I really contributed to resurrect Nigeria from the historical quagmires we all knew it had been for long?Â The answer to these questions (individually) determines where we have been, where we are and where we are going.
We cannot serve our fatherland when we do not believe (faith) in it first of all and do not also believe in morality by the way of good character, attitude, virtuousness, godliness and a thriving spirit of ingenuity in our various endeavors. Conversely, vice ruins a people and consequently a nation. Therefore to serve with some flair of decadence and not decency is as good as not serving at all. We must not hold political positions before we could contribute. By mere fact of living healthy life (ethical) already has its contribution in â€˜building the nationâ€™. Every single Nigeria has microcosmic quarters of contribution to make in serving our beloved country. If our researchers and students should only learn to create and not only consume, what a better society we would be living in. Every little action we carry out has the capacity to either elevating us or bringing us down.
Moral pervasiveness, tribal dissention and backbiting, nepotism, hostility, ethnic generated riots, religious bigotry, avariciousness, dishonesty, embezzlement, treachery, fraud, prejudice, maladministration, mismanagement, unaccountability are all way of dis-serving the nation. Many no doubt perceive Nigeria from the viewpoint of the enumerated vices. They see her recourses as a windfall or a bonus in which their insatiable opportunistic and gluttonous appetites should compete for rape and exploitation. A human person by essence has the capacity to be good or moral. And as moral agents, the thought of humanity and her welfare should permeate any service we render especially when it comes to being a patriotic citizen. Mathematically, it is impossible to foster progress in an atmosphere where everyone thinks of what to get and not what to give.
In the Nigerian political sphere, this unbridled quest for what to amass had pushed the entire nation to the margin of bitter paucity. It is a sincere quest for what to give (by way of service) that stimulates development. Therefore the only thing worth giving to Nigeria is honest service, faith in her future and commitment to her interests. The teacher, the trader, the army, the student, the farmer, the politician, the laborer, the cook, the driver, the preacher and in fact every privately employed or publicly employed needs to come to one term: that Nigeria is our fatherland and worth serving.
There is no gainsaying the fact that our experience of the past had perhaps distorted our faith, distorted our love of her and paralyzed our energy for her service. Every developing nation has encountered similar problems or uncertainty, pessimism and cynicism. Compared to the western worlds, Nigeria is still very young from independence to democracy, and still needs many hands on her deck to keep her strengthened.
If we only refuse to be corrupted by certain structural pattern of conventional thinking such as bribery, shortcuts, indiscipline, things would surely assume a new and better face for everyone. Because it seems we live in a system that corrupts citizens. There is ostentatious display of ill gotten wealth, sincerity and ingenuity is not openly reworded, there is the elevation of fraudsters in the social echelon which prompts the innocent external observers to want to â€˜belongâ€™ too. If we as a people should eschew these deranged mentality and attitude, we would be making a little step progressively. The rubble of age-long decay is not a work left for Mr. President and his office allies alone. Everyone has to participate.
The posterity of Nigeria would not remember champions in cultism, smugglers, traffickers, swindlers and numerous other law contraveners. History only adorns good memory of the good people. So by acting in good morale, we are not only bettering our nation but imprinting our names on the historyâ€™s national consciousness. No country raises a crock on the dais of national pride. It is always the ingenious.
Service is all about sacrifice. And sacrifice is borne out of love. In serving without always anticipating immediate physical the benefits lays great fortitude and strength. We are the ones to make a new Nigeria in the image of our dream. It is humans that corrupt a country; it is also humans that build a country. So all hope is not completely lost. Nigeria is both the giant and the hope of Africa. It plays a key role in the growth and stability of Africa. Any lingering instability affects the surrounding region in particular and the entire Africa in general. That is why her survival is crucial in the 21st century Africa. And, for her to survive, Nigerians must learn selfless serve to her with love, strength and faith.
TO BE CONTINUED