Monday, October 15, 2007

Nigeria Is Full of promise! Nigeria Deserves Our Love And Loyalty

Nigeria Is Full of promise! Nigeria Deserves Our Love And Loyalty
Sunday, 11 July 2004
The article below was first published last year, it represents and encompasses my feelings about Nigeria, Nigeria’s purpose and place in the world, particularly more relevant now, because of the clarion call by President Obasanjo to Nigerians, a call to become more engaged with Nigerian affairs/national interests.

I read the interview with Dr. Titilola Banjoko in the current issue of Newswatch Magazine with literal tears of joy! It is quite refreshing! It gave me great delight and personal joy to read about a Nigerian, an accomplished Nigerian, especially a Nigerian in the Diaspora who has boundless optimism about Nigeria.

It is sadly the case these days, that talking about Nigeria in the Diaspora in positive and optimistic terms automatically earns the wrath of some Nigerians in the Diaspora, who are professional cynics, some Nigerians whose desire to paint everything Nigerian in negative colors, knows no appropriateness and decorum in public debates! Some Nigerians have become self appointed experts in the lampooning and denigration of Nigeria, they malign Nigeria and disparage Nigeria to no end.

I am not an advocate of cloning, but I feel so excited and good about the comments credited by Newswatch to Dr. Banjoko, to the extent that I wish shecould be replicated into millions, imagine the prospect of ten million Nigerians thinking like her! In the Newswatch article, she said that she is dedicated, committed and passionate about her objectives in Nigeria and Africa, to the extent of allowing her personal life or fulfillment to take the back burner!

How many Nigerian men can say that? How many so-called leaders can say that? How many politicians can say that?

I am beyond ecstatic! Reading about her was very uplifting for me! This is particularly so, given the fact that, those who are ‘experts’ at saying Nigeria is beyond redemption, are quick to deride anyone with a scintilla of hope and optimism about Nigeria, and label such person as na├»ve, over simplistic and even foolish!

Some Nigerians have pointedly queried the basis of my eternal optimism about Nigeria! As they state their plethora of hyperboles regarding the impossibilities of everything!

Being optimistic about Nigeria has become a dirty word or curse word, as far as some Nigerians in the Diaspora are concerned, they are quick denigrate anyone who expresses optimism about Nigeria, Whenever optimism is expressed regarding some things that are changing for the better in Nigeria,pessimists ask, what Nigeria are talking about? The same one? If you produce facts relating to some progress being made, you will be promptly accused of working for the government, or being on some sort of pay roll! Whose payroll are you on? They will ask!

Too many Nigerians these days believe that the only time to be patriotic and hopeful and optimistic about Nigeria, is when all is well with Nigeria, But true patriotism like true friendship defies foul weather, because those who are fair weather friends are certain to leave you stranded when you need them most! Friends in all weather are good friends.

True friendship, true love, like true patriotism stands the test of time,hardship and adversities, All Nigerians most show their patriotism even in hard times.

There are few examples of my personal experiences that confirms these negative attitude by some Nigerians in the Diaspora; I traveled to Nigeria from New York in 1991 on Nigeria Airways, on arrival at the Murtala Mohammed Airport Lagos, I witnessed the uncouth manner with which the New York/Nigerians spoke and dealt with the Nigerian Customs Service, Nigerian Immigration Service and eventually the baggage handlers!

I witnessed such magnitude of insolence by these New York/Nigerians, insolence that they directed at our fellow Nigerians, I never had until that moment believed any Nigerian capable of such despicable behavior! These New York/Nigerians spoke in the most profane language, the most odious of expletives, as they displayed all forms of offensive ghetto attitude, replete with filthy utterances as they used words from the sewer

All Nigerians cannot live abroad, we do not all need to, I say this, in view of the air of accomplishment or superiority that surround some Nigerians in the Diaspora who say, write and do condescending things about our fellow country men and women living in Nigeria, there is always this overstated Jesus Christ Complex about some Diaspora Nigerians!

Whereas I find Nigerians at home as well informed as anyone overseas! Let us even suppose for a minute, that all Nigerians now live overseas? Who in Nigeria will then be minding the store? Should we not show some respect to the Nigerian brothers and sisters toughing it out at home? Those of us who ran away! Should show some respect!

When I have visited Nigeria from New York, I have found a lot of Nigerians visiting Nigeria from the United States are full of braggadocio; They are often very loud in their speaking styles and other mannerisms.

In one of my visits, a native New Yorker was enjoying my lessons on the best way to enjoy egusi and pounded yam in a restaurant, he was more amazed than I was, as we witnessed some New York/Nigerians trying so hard to Americans inside Nigeria!

I have recounted all these, in order to indicate or show how some Nigerians are so detached form their Nigerian-ness, and worse, some are even unwilling to imagine a future in which Nigeria becomes a prosperous and great nation.

Expressing optimism about Nigeria now and the future is a possibility that some Nigerians are not willing to even entertain, hence the frenzy to be every national, but Nigerian?

There appears to be an epidemic of self doubt or perhaps even damaged psyche among many Nigerians, resulting from years of dictatorship and battered economy, a lot of these Nigerians need rehabilitation, personal rehabilitation, just as the revival of the economy is being undertaken.

Some Nigerians talk as if we are at war or as if we just ending a war, and they are not certain about reconstruction and national recovery, some Nigerians talk about Nigeria and current situations there, as if Nigeria is just a shell, an empty shell, some Nigerians talk about Nigeria, as if Nigeria is worse than Afghanistan! Or worse than the former Yugoslavia, Liberia, Sierra Leone or Israel and Palestine!

Hopelessness is worse than illness, When someone is hopeless, nothing in the world can help him/her A patient who has lost hope would not respond to even the best treatment, this is the psychology of medicine and healing. A desire to live, helps any patient's recovery.

Nigeria is our mother, regardless of how unhappy we are, with Nigeria, I do not recommend that we divorce her, instead, we should all keep the faith, keep hope alive as they say over here in the US ala Jesse Jackson; I am enthusiastic and effusive about Nigeria, I am certain that when Nigeria's history is written, It will be glorious!

The same analogy or rule applies to companies and countries; Responsible spouses do not jump to divorce their partners when their marriages have headaches or suffers a flu, they only contemplate divorce when a marriage suffer heart attack (man and wife) or it has broken down irretrievably; But as to mother and child, no divorce is recommended at all, and in the case of companies, responsible chief executives do not jump to bankruptcy filing at the first sign of corporate stress.

So many Nigerians are quick to say how they will never go back to Nigeria, on the contrary, Dr. Banjoko emphasizes the value and benefits of returning to Nigeria and And I personally wish I was in Oguta right now or Gusau or Abeokuta or Warri or Kaduna or Obudu or my favorite of all, Maiduguri!

But I and many other Nigerians live abroad, because of the state of the economy, it has been so for years, the mess that many Nigerians are quick to refer to did happen overnight or did not happen during the last three and half years! Many Nigerians abroad are not happy to live outside of our country, I rather live in Nigeria than any where else, except for the current state of the economy, but this will change and we all can breath relief. Efforts are being made to rectify the situation on the ground I know it is difficult to urge people to be patient, but that is what there is, a little more patience is required, Dr Banjoko is playing her part, how many of us can say that?.

We must all do our part as is clearly indicated by Dr. Banjoko’s role, we must not distance ourselves from the efforts required to make Nigeria as good as we all say! There is no magic to it, it will take a while to clean up the ruination, the abandonment, the neglect and the decay that Nigeria went through and for so long, but all that is changing now, gradually. Patience please. And then, we should all think of what we can contribute, we should not under-estimate the ideas we have, our ideas may move mountains, our ideas may be the break through your hometown or mine need, talk to people around you, think hard, there must be something we can also do.

Nigeria is depending on all of us. Nigeria is not beyond redemption. Let your local government Chairman not speak English, let him speak your language! Let our governments speak the language of good roads, good schools, equipped hospitals, constant water supply and stable electricity and other social amenities. Abundant food supply! Food in any language! Is food. Good things have universal value and none have to be in English. Clean water in Japan, China, Germany and South Korea and Singapore is clean water in Nigeria or anywhere.

Efficiency and effectiveness are universal concepts; My appeal to all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria, is, be patient, Nigeria is on the way to her glory; And if there is anything you all can do, please chip in; Ask Dr. Banjoko!

We express our frustrations regarding slow pace of progress, some even lampoon and malign Nigeria. But I think it is more helpful to be constructive and then chip in too, to do the part that we can.


Too many Nigeria do not believe in loving Nigeria in an altruistic sense,there has to be an immediate reward or compensation and benefit, a sort of what-is-in-it-for-me attitude! I once told a Nigerian here in New York that I was taking the day off to attend the Nigeria day parade and this professional wanted to know if there will be free food? This Nigerian lawyer wanted to know if there would be food, as the incentive that could lure her to attend our parade, instant gratification?

Nigerians should love Nigeria because they want to, it is a choice, an easy choice! It may not be the most popular choice right now or currently, you do not have to be a government employee to defend Nigeria from those denigrating her, you do not have to be on anyone’s payroll, you do not have to be anyone’s spin doctor, all Nigerians are ambassadors of Nigeria.

I have good knowledge of how good Nigerians and Nigeria has been and how that can be improved upon and it is happening! I have lived in all the regions of Nigeria in the past, My father spoke the three major languages of Nigeria and as I now try to do, my late father lost a son to the Nigerian civil war and I have repeatedly stated that, that was the first time I saw him ever cry! That is an indelible mark and impression that I have lived with ever since and I still endure it today! Therefore those who advocate war and disintegration do not have foresight or vision and do not appreciate the consequences of what they advocate, it is easier to destroy than to build; Let us all, REBUID NIGERIA, NOW!I stand for one Nigeria, one strong prosperous, and greater Nigeria

Every one of us will be proud of Nigeria if we help solve the challenges she now faces. I always wonder as to why or How is it, that the only persons that are “right” about Nigeria these days, are the persons who ridicule Nigeria daily and effortlessly?

How come, no one ever ask the motives of Nigeria’s critics and detractors and maligners? But anyone defending Nigeria must explain she/he is not on government payroll or that she/he not spin-doctor? Anyone with kind words about Nigeria is quickly tasked and tasked intensely! CYNICISM has not helped us, ridiculing Nigeria will not help your hometown or mine, let us all see what role we all, can play in making Nigeria greater than it is today!

It should not always require personal immediate and inordinate benefit from Nigeria, to show faith in Nigeria and defend her; Your home is burning? Would you curse at the architects who designed it or call the Fire Brigade? (Fire Service) Lets put out the fire, instead of arguing over its cause!!! Let us all show that we are not averse to working for Nigeria's greatness, we can write, talk and then get to work! As Dr. Banjoko is already busy at work for Nigeria’s success.

Serving Nigeria’s cause is a singular opportunity to do so much good, the power to do so much good to improve the lives of so many! That my friends, is the ultimate!

Nigeria's birth, Nigeria's Renaissance is here! I am sure that many of us can write volumes of books about our age-old expectations of Nigeria and how disappointing and frustrating it has been having to wait, and wait this long! But is no patriotic foolhardiness to support one’s country and believe in Nigeria.

But if the citizens of Afghanistan can be hopeful about their war torn country, why can’t Nigerians be hopeful? If those in Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea are hopeful about their countries, why can’t Nigerian be hopeful of Nigeria? If those from Israel and Palestine are hopeful for peace and progress and prosperity, Why can’t Nigerians be hopeful about Nigeria? If those from the former Yugoslavia and now Bosnia, Hergozovinia, Serbia and Croatia have reasons to be hopeful, why can’t Nigerians be hopeful about Nigeria? What will Nigerians do if Nigeria was Iraq? Nigerians abroad will attack Nigeria before America does? Many Israelis and American Jews in New York still travel to Israel, despite the daily war the Israelis and Palestinians are having and have been having for 50 years!

An American Jew actually said on television news this weekend, that Jerusalem is not any more dangerous than New York! Because he was vacationing in Israel and a journalist asked him and his wife, if they were not concerned? When individuals give-up, they become hopeless suicidal, and it becomes impossible for the best person, or the best medicine to be effective on such individuals who have given up.

When couples give up, they divorce, when companies give up, they file bankruptcy and WHEN NATIONS GIVE UP, ITS ANARCHY, ITS WAR AND DISINTEGRATION OF SUCH COUNTRY! We do not want to give up on Nigeria; We do not want anarchy and war! It is not my intention to compare Nigeria to the most troubled countries of the world, but, it was to make the point that, Nigerians and Nigeria should be more hopeful, more optimistic, more effusive, more enthusiastic about our country! We should be hopeful, prayerful and participate in making Nigeria into what we want of her, we should not under estimate our contribution to the efforts needed to make Nigeria great, what are we doing about Nigeria’s myriad of challenges, write, talk and then laugh?

If we laugh or lampoon or ridicule Nigeria, we are shooting our collective feet and throwing away the baby with the bath water! We all should resolve to play our part, just as Dr Titilola Banjoko is clearly doing, she is leading the way!

We should give Nigeria a little more time, we will be spectacularly impressed in time. Remarkable progress is being made, it is easier to destroy than to build; Nigeria was neglected, abandoned and allowed to decay for too long, But it is being fixed, it takes a lot of efforts, our efforts are also needed. Resources, time and patience are required; All hands must be on deck, more than ever Let us do our part Nigeria's greatness is here!

LOVING NIGERIA SHOULD NOT ALWAYS BE MEASURED BY OUR SELF INTERESTS AND PERSONAL BENEFIT, that is exactly the reason for the state of affairs, too many people think only of themselves, instead of the public good.

Our happiness should not always be predicated on our self-interest or parochial interests. Nigerians should stop using selfish interests as parameter for measuring or determining Nigeria's interests. When Nigeria's national interests are protected, we all benefit. When Nigeria wins, we all win. I am for protecting Nigeria's national interests.

All the other countries in the world that we think are good, got that way through the efforts and dedication and commitments of their citizens,Nigerians should do no less for Nigeria.

We should let Nigeria become our ethnicity, our state, our region, our religion, our nation! Nothing else really matters!

God Bless Dr. Banjoko and other Nigerians like her.


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