Monday, October 15, 2007

Nigeria: A Ridiculed Mother?

Saturday, 02 June 2007
Nigeria: A Ridiculed Mother?

By Paul I. Adujie

New York, United States

It is very gratifying, to read that some Nigerians, who have created a cottage industry, and a niche market, in their virulent criticisms of Nigeria, are also patriots! So, even those whose profession it seems, is to ridicule Nigeria ceaselessly, at every opportunity, now say that they too, are patriots and that they love Nigeria? Those who have been mauling, pummeling and pulverizing Nigeria, are now claiming patriotism as their excuses? So, these persons who engage in destructive criticisms of Nigeria are now claiming that they too, are patriots? Should their pronouncements and actions not speak and demonstrate their patriotisms? Virulent criticism is intimidation and blackmail! And not love!

However, I am happy to learn of these reaffirmations patriotism and love for Nigeria, even by those, whose destructive and ridiculing criticisms of Nigeria, have left the rest us to wonder about their faith in Nigeria, and Nigeria's eventual outcome. It cannot be, and, it should not be, that acerbic, bellicose and caustic criticisms are the only way to show our Nigerian-ness, our dedication and commitment to Nigeria's cause!

Isn't it ironic? Quite like saying the use of damaging advertising is the only way to make a manufacturer improve its product, by instilling quality control? Or, is not like hoping that bad advertising and the ridiculing of a company's product, is the best and, only way, to ensure that a company makes good and desirable product? Particularly, egregious, I think, is this sorts of logic, when, as in this case, those doing the damaging advertising, are shareholders and employees of the manufacturer of the product, for which enhancements and improvements are being sought! How can this be logical to anyone?

When I write about Nigeria, often I have argued and I will continue to argue, that, you cannot advertise that you mother is the worst cook, because if you do, you should be certain, that you will eat alone! As any of your attempt to sell or even give your mother's cooking to others, will meet with resistance! This is because most reasonable persons are highly likely to believe your scalding assessment of your mother's cooking skills. People will understandably rely on your critique of your mom's cooking abilities, because it will be assumed that you are fair and objective about your mother, especially that you have had opportunities to sample her cooking over time, and ordinarily, most persons in the world, would probably say, their moms are the best cooks! You would eat alone, please eat alone if you lack finesse, and announce on NTA that your mother is the worst cook on earth!

Those who are pessimistic and cynical about Nigeria, seem to think that they deserve national and international awards for their negative general dispositions towards Nigeria, even while they insist that those, who are optimistic and forward looking are naïve, stupid and mere sycophants or opportunists!When and where does patriotism and loving Nigeria begin? It is the case that Nigerian leaderships, good or not so good, arise from the citizenry. Angelic citizen would not become a satanic president or governor, senator etc. There is not magic pill or tablet to turn a satanic citizen, into a sudden angelic president, governor or what have you.

It is safe to say, that our lack of love for Nigeria, the absence of patriotism toward Nigeria, and the loss of desire to protect and preserve Nigeria, rises from the citizenry to the top, be it political leadership, economic/corporate leadership or even religious leaderships. A lack of patriotism and love for Nigeria should therefore be seen as not transcendental, as the same virus transcends and permeates all sectors. A bad church-congregant may then become a bad pastor as a bad mosque-goers may become a bad imam. Churches or Mosques do not import persons from other faiths to lead it. So, if you hear of a bad political leader, a bad corporate leader, a bad religious leader, think of the general society from whence they all come. Good citizens? Good leaders! Leaders are us! Where do our political leaders come from, if not from the citizenry? Or why is corruption rampant in every state, level, almost every state?

Some Nigerians are quick to quote William Samuel Johnson to support their unfeeling and unwarranted denigration of Nigeria, they are quick spout and, quote " Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels." OK, I am a patriot and a scoundrel, but what should we call traitors, blackmailers and those who lampoon and ridicule Nigeria? I am parodied and denigrated as a scoundrel, because of my very purposeful stridency in advocating patriotism and love for Nigeria. I will wear the scoundrel badge and label, as an honor! Nigerians must not think of patriotism or love for Nigeria, only in terms of benefits! Nigerians must, as well, consider duty, sacrifice and service to Nigeria. After all, we know that Americans who are homeless and in abject poverty, still love America. We know that American troops being slaughtered in the needless Iraq war, are still patriotic despite Bush Most Americans are patriotic, even when, and if, they despise the government of the day!

Survivors in New Orleans's Hurricane Katrina calamities still love America. African Americans who have been historically treated, as if, subhuman, visited with racism, discriminations and egregious segregations, are still in love and patriotic in America! Nigerians who do not love Nigeria, or have not thought of patriotism, all seem like bad workmen, they quarrel with their tools for poor quality work. Nigerians who have not demonstrated patriotism or love for Nigeria now say, it is only because Nigeria has not given them heaven, gold, diamond and oil blocks! What comes first, love or its rewards? Patriotism or love defy mathematical calculations and apportionments, how would a Nigerian calculate the patriotism of a gallant Nigerian soldier, who makes the supreme sacrifice with his life serving Nigeria, compare a soldier's life to a wheelchair-bound paraplegic/ quadriplegic, both, with professed love for Nigeria. How much is their lives worth, how many oil blocks, gold or diamond and Naira should each receive?

Most of those who ridicule Nigeria, actually received free or near-free education from primary to university degree levels or received scholarship to come overseas and they never returned or gave back to our society, any returns on Nigeria’s investment in them!

Please use any search engine to reach more on patriotism in these links here provided. I Love Nigeria!; Just Because!

Too many Nigerians complain and whine endlessly about the Nigerian condition.

Who wants a guy who is always whining and grumbling as some Nigerians are? What sane person wants toxic company not me! Stop cursing the darkness, light a candle please! Critics of Nigeria should cease and desist from insisting that, conditions in Nigeria and, Nigeria herself, are irredeemably bad. See Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (UNPLUGGED)!

To continue to portray Nigeria as hopeless is the moral equivalents, of repeatedly scolding a child with a self-fulfilling prophecy of, you will never amount to anything, it is debilitating and demoralizing curse, no child should hear, even a juvenile delinquent! I am all for criticizing a child's or anyone's failings, it helps to shape focus. I will admonish a child and recommend that he become focused, vigorous and tenacious in his efforts. I will also find positive reinforcements periodically.

I will advise a child and state the things, in my opinion, he must do to succeed in life, and things that must be so done, and done urgently. I will emphasize to the child, that it is monumentally unwise, to neglect crucially important and significant things that must be done, timely or urgently. Emphasize the things that must be done better. I will never tell a child that he is useless and the worst of all children, that ridiculing and unhelpful!

In real life, we know for instance that there are those who think people of the African continent inferior in intellect to them. Saul Bellow once rejected the advocacy for diversity and political correctness by demanding that Africans show him Africa's equivalents of Shakespeare, Mozart etc. But we all know that Africans have literature, dance and music, we all know that Africans have conversations without English or French. We all know that Africans can sing and dance without Mozart and Beethoven. We all know that Africans have stories of their own lives, of the scenic hills, mountains and valleys and fairy tales. Do we need a Shakespeare to prove these?

But there are people who believe that Africans have had no contributions to human development and human history, all this from those, who metaphorically have, copyrighted hatred for Africans and peoples of African descent. Those who are, all too happy, to think Africans inferior, the Klu Klux Klan and White Supremacy organizations and some regular everyday non-Africans, who think of Africans, as non-humans or subhuman. What I find quite gulling therefore, is when Africans or persons of African descent tend to, seem to, lend credence and support to what the KKK and other anti Africans and peoples of African descent say of us. We have no sustainable social political and economic structures they allege. We are irredeemable they add. These Africans then lend a scintilla of authority and legitimacy, to assertions of our supposed inferiority. Well, superior people may not denigrate themselves! Or support the assertions, wittingly or unwittingly, of opponents!

Nowadays, it is quite common to find “the” George Ayittey in many African intellectuals. They are too quick, too eager, to be critical and brutal, in the "analyses" of things African! They are too quick to say we are irredeemably corrupt. As they shout, Do not give foreign aid to Africa! Do not cancel debts owed by Africans, debts that spurious debts in the first place!

Nowadays, we have Africans who frequently call on the "international community" to “govern” Nigeria or take over Nigeria's internal affairs. We have analytical Nigerian professor of chemical engineering, articulate Nigerian professor of literature and eloquent Nigerian professor of history etc, all in American universities, who are all too quick to deploy their intellects, professional and social connections, to the corrosive criticisms of Nigeria. Why wouldn’t these Nigerians deploy their talents and creativities positively, for the service of Nigeria? Why is it that, we seem to only find Nigerians like these who are eager to condemn Nigerian in most high profile manner? They always manage to surface! One Hundred Concerned Nigerians Abroad? is an example of this service in reverse for our motherland.

Clearly, it should be understood by all that I am not against constructive criticism; But, I am against ridicule! I have argued and will continue to argue that we should rejoice in Nigeria and our Nigerian-ness. We should inspire and support Nigerians and Nigeria. A country can only become great and remain great, when the citizens rejoice in her. Nigeria is not perfect, I understand this, for some, the field is greener everywhere right now, but in Nigeria. The truth however is, greener pastures or real and perceived conditions in countries, can be like, what a neighbors think they see of other neighbors. For instance, a dissatisfied house wife might think a neighbor's wife luckier than she is, because the neighbor's wife's husband is handsome and drives a new car, but unbeknownst to wife, neighbor's husband may be a wife abuser, physically and mentally. Neighbor's husband's car, may actually have an engine problem, despite its newness in appearance.

A cavorting neighbor husband of an overweight wife, may admire a his neighbor's beautiful and trim wife, but, unbeknownst to cavorting husband, neighbor's wife, has multiple personalities, despite her outward prettiness! And what is worse, she is a nag! A nagging wife that has stressed her husband to a few adverse cardiac events! I am glad that we are finally having this conversation about patriotism and Nigeria. For a while, it, "patriotism" was a no-go-area of political discourse amongst too many Nigerians. It was "understood" by many to be a non-discussable-transaction, some find it quite offensive and it was a relationship, friendship and conversation breaker for too many! Patriotism, to too many Nigerians, was a dirty word! It was the ultimate insult!

A patriotism debate now, suggests that we are thinking, analyzing, and re-examining where we Nigerians stand in relation to our country, do we love Nigeria? Do Nigerians show love and enough love for Nigeria? Do Nigerians demonstrate patriotism? Must criticisms be the only sure way to show our affection for, and toward Nigeria? Is condemning your child, your spouse, your friend, your dog etc the only way to seek improvement in their behaviors? Has unfriendly, harsh and damning criticisms worked for Nigeria? Is it time to modify or change tactics altogether Nigeria’s National Interests: A Moratorium And Change Of Tactics perhaps? I recognize the value of corrections, we all make mistakes hence all pencils come with erasers. I therefore quite understand the value constructive, as opposed to destructive, disabling and ridiculing criticism and purveyors, the critics.

I do not believe in flag burning, despite the right and freedom to do so. Those who would burn a national flag and denigrate their country's flag claim and argue that they do so out of sheer love, as they demonstrate symbolically, their profusion of patriotism in a “blaze“. But we still must wonder about those other citizens of same country, who continue to fly, wave and glorify the same flag! This is the real blaze of glory! Loving our country is similar to the overwhelming ramifications the elimination of corruption would have on our society. Achieving both, will improve our society tremendously, because a lack of love or patriotism allow or permit pillaging and plundering, when you love, you don’t cheat!

And no reasonable persons invites rape, or demand the rape of his lover, such as would happen, if there were a violation of Nigeria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, were foreigners to accede to some Nigerians’ call for foreign interventions in our internal affairs. I urge all Nigerians to inspire and support Nigerian leaders for the best governance. Nigerians should constructively criticize, and contribute to Nigeria's development, advancement and greatness, nothing less. And yes, we are all patriots. We all wish the very best for Nigeria!

No comments: