Friday, November 28, 2008

Patriotism Is Not A Dirty Word!

Patriotism Is Not A Dirty Word!


Paul I. Adujie

New York, United States

I am simply elated! Just reading the story in This Day, newspaper, about the role being played by a Nigerian citizen named Maduka, in the CHOGM events being hosted by Nigeria this December 2003, he donated hundreds of cars, to facilitate Nigeria’s hosting of CHOGM; Whatever anyone has against Nigeria playing host to these Commonwealth club members, Mr. Maduka deserves our commendation, for his demonstration and practice of good corporate citizenship and a sense of responsibility.

Mr. Cosmas Maduka, actually used the P word! He did, while speaking with Newsmen, Mr. Maduka said Coscharis, his company, was supporting CHOGM out of Patriotism and loyalty to the government and people of Nigeria; Maduka said
"unlike some of our competitors who say they won't provide these cars if they are not paid for them, we are looking at the long term, we are not looking at Nigeria as something that is coming to an end tomorrow, but as long as this country remains we will eventually reap the seed we are sowing today." Maduka also said "We want the private sector to know that they need to jump-start this economy and whenthere is a function like this one going on, the private sector should play an active role by fully representing themselves" "When this opportunity came up, we felt it was our responsibility as good corporate citizens to sponsor this event and we talked to our principals to support us to make these cars available to host CHOGM." Mr. Maduka's donated vehicles, include top of the range BMW vehicles amongst which are BMW Jeeps, 3, 5 and 7 series that will be used to ferry the Heads of States and delegates and then sold to interested individuals after CHOGM; All for good Nigeria, a good Nigeria for all, Nigerians win, when Nigeria wins!

The cars presented by Coscharis are free of charge, the Federal Government did not spend a dime" said Ambassador Esan who spoke on behalf of the task force, he is the Chairman of the National Task Force of the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting, and in a headline, “CHOGM Coscharis Hands Over 400BMW Cars to Federal Government” written by Iyefu Adoba in Abuja for This Day Newspapers of Lagos Nigeria, Mr. Maduka efforts and contribution to making Nigeria look good, by the successful hosting of CHOGM, highlighted and gratifyingly described, and I am thrilled at the swiftness of his action!

It must be realized that the tasks of making Nigeria look good, belongs to the government at all levels in Nigeria, it also belongs to private and public corporations/companies and of course, it belongs to motivated and public spirited individual citizens! No government, anywhere in the world, wno matter how efficient and effective, can achieve very much, and in all areas/departments, alone, on its own; Concerted efforts are therefore always required, as necessity and compliment, for government policies or programs to be any success. Here lies the praise-worthiness of Mr. Maduka's insightful efforts/contributions.

In America, most public policies, if not all, always have component parts driven by ordinary citizens and members of the public, usually described in America as John Q public, the John Doe and Jane Addams of America, Nigerians must learn to cultivate this public spirit for the common good, perhaps we can call it, the actions of citizens Adamu, Bola and Okoro of Nigeria?

In the United States, it is frequently the case, that every conference, every sports fiesta, are seen as opportunities to advertise the USA to the rest of the world! Be it the hosting of the Olympics or World Cup or the Super Bowl; These events frequently generate short, medium and long term economic, social and developmental benefits. Stadiums are built, other public facilities and amenities are built or enhanced for the public, such as public transportation, like the trains/subway etc. Hence, the different levels of governments in America, the different communities, corporations/companies and individual citizens, lobby hard to have the rights to host these types of events! Companies want the rights to display their logos, the right to claim to be the official sponsor of this or that event! There are tangible and intangible gains from these hosting; And huge employment are generated in the short and long runs, hotels are usually fully booked, hotels make money, the shoe-shiners, make money, the taxi-drivers make money and believe-it-or-not, the unmentionables, such as the sex workers make money too!

All those countries and heads of governments, that President Obasanjo have been talking to, visiting and revisiting, during these past five years, will now be in Nigeria, in one Hall, in one Room! Let the lobbying begin! Let the Nigerian business class and executives of the organized private sector leverage their experience to Nigeria's benefit! Drum roll please! Let Nigerian leader, the Nigerian Press/Media, now make the pitch of a lifetime to our foreign guests!

As a cartoonist also suggested in The Guardian newspapers of Nigeria, last week, the CHOGM, may also present the golden opportunity, for Nigeria to impress it upon the visiting heads of governments and our "brothers and sisters" of the Commonwealth club, that Nigeria's looted monies and resources, in their various countries, belong to Nigeria, and Nigeria must use this spectacular opportunity, while the CHOGM lasts, to remind Attendees, to do all, that they can, to ensure that Nigeria's wealth is returned to Nigeria, where it properly belongs! Tell the Queen! Tell the Prime Ministers! There is no better time, than during the CHOGM, to Tell Them, To FORGIVE OUR DEBT! RETURN NIGERIA’S LOOTED MONIES AND RESOURCES! Return what belongs to Nigeria!

There is no better time to drum-up business for Nigeria, to drum-up tourism for Nigeria! It is also the case, that Nigeria may reap immediate or future benefits in terms of tourism, as those who had not "discovered" Nigeria as a vacation destination, may finally do so; New friendship, political, personal and business, may also be cemented; It will also give a wonderful opportunity of, free imaging making for Nigeria's image makers, because, during CHOGM or such other conference or international activity, Nigeria will be the focus of major media houses in America, Europe and Asia, particularly, in the home-countries of the attending dignitaries and heads of foreign governments.

Every Nigerian at home or abroad, must put Nigeria first, second and always, even as public policies are debated! Including those who disagree with Nigeria's role in the Commonwealth club, or even others, who are anguished by the cost of hosting events like the COJA or CHOGM, We cannot in the name of public discourse, throw the baby and the dirty bath water, we should desist from washing our dirty linen in public, all in the name of freedom of speech, freedom of the press and democracy! Observe a “ceasefire”

I am confident that Nigerians can eschew any open display of our family squabbles during CHOGM. Nigerians must collectively give a befitting reception, play the perfect host to our foreign guests during CHOGM, this is probably not the best time to engage in our now familiar family squabbles, the world is watching, let us show our guests, that Nigerians and all Africans respect our guests, that we play perfect host, with all the courtesy and hospitality in the world! Nigerians and Nigeria will earn the respect and admiration of our guests and everyone in the whole world!

Paul I. Adujie is a Nigerian Lawyer and an Information Technology Professional.

Dec 2003

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