Nigeria Our Fatherland — Their Fathers’ Land

The coming together of peoples to form a significant one worthy of reckoning has never been without a common dream. To borrow from well-documented history the people must in the least share a sense of purpose that is uniform in application, adaptation and pursuit. To show a country with an identity is to lay the premise for a truly great nation. The Fathers of Nigeria had a dream to build a nation where peace, prosperity and justice were attainable by all. It was a fair dream, which they had to pass on to the next generation of fathers, then the next and so on. By all means it had to be perpetuated this way for it to be ever become a reality. What has happened today is that the dream changed hands several times and now has many versions, both distorted and counter-versions. The debate here is whose Fatherland is Nigeria — is it still our Fatherland or some new Fathers that are not known. It does appear as though some unworthy fathers have converted our Fathers’ dream and land to their own. Does Nigeria still have the trace of the great fathers or basically the low-key ones nowadays?

In time past no doubt great fathers were at the corridors of power in Nigeria. Listening to them one could tell the passion and determination they had for a beautiful country. Without prejudice to the less known names the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Tafawa Balewa and Obafemi Awolowo were icons that could have shaped a better country if they had more time and opportunity. What was the Nigerian dream then and how does it translate in today’s reality? The Nigerian dream was to be the pride of the black race and epicenter of development in Africa. It was a country where ethnicity and religion would be tested and found to be incapable of halting progress or unity of purpose. This was the message of the Fathers at the time. However in the years that have passed several dreams have emerged and the true dream is missing in action.

Think about the brain drain that has hemorrhage the country’s intellectual wealth. It was never so from the beginning. Everyone that had gone outside the shores to acquire knowledge wanted to come home and find its use here. The Fathers would never have imagined that the only contribution our ‘intellectuals leaving abroad’ would have is their foreign remittances to the economy. To be fair to them, no one wants to leave a country that works for another whose systems are in chaos except you are the great savior with nine lives. The intellectuals no longer feel it is our Fatherland, they think it’s more of the Cabal’s land than anything else. Their sense of ownership has been obscured with the many atrocities of power drunk fathers who changed the dreams while men slept.

Within the Political class of Nigeria, there are the new sets of fathers who under the guise of democracy have coined a new phrase — ‘threat to our democracy’. They use this phrase lightly every time a power tussle doesn’t go their way and they start crying like babies. They even go to the extent of writing letters to the United Nations and others unwittingly recanting their shameful puerile acts. Because you are being prosecuted for an alleged crime, then the whole thing is threatening our democracy? Really? Is it our democracy or your democracy? What could be more threatening to our democracy than a collapsed educational system, high levels of unemployment, low industrial output, and an economy in near-collapse? What about the lack of transparency and focus by the legislature in making laws for nation building? Our founding Fathers would be more concern about this and not the political correctness that is seen today. If it is true the undertone involvement of the executive arm of government in their trials, then who are these fathers that have betrayed the people’s trust in them? The peoples of Nigeria want equity and progress, not witch hunting and scores settling. It leaves the question hanging; whose democracy is being threatened — their fathers or our fathers?

Going further it is most disheartening to see the way today’s fathers have corrupted the ethics of hardwork and meritocracy using different national taglines. The children can no longer depend on justice and fairness to get what they deserve. When they apply for jobs, they in addition need to know a father somewhere (not our Heavenly Father) who can make it happen. This also applies to college admissions, scholarships, grants etc. The fathers have encouraged laziness and sheer irresponsibility. The original intent was to let the waters of merit find their levels while making provisions for affirmative dams. No wonder our fatherlands are slowly being converted to their lands for private empires.

The dream of the fathers at beginning was to have enough resources go round for all including Farmers and Herdsmen. More importantly the dream was to keep evolving in tune with modern technology and theme of sustainable development. Alas it is a different story from all indication. Everyone is claiming rights to our fatherland and saying it is their fathers’ land. It has not come to anyone’s understanding that no nation advances by simply claiming right to its natural resources. Nation surges forward by adding value to their natural resources. They understand that it is the person that adds value that would command the big share eventually. The Nigerian dream has been misunderstood as the fight or bickering on who owns what.

In retrospect what is left of the dreams of the early fathers? There are so many questions and very little conversation along these lines. Should Nigeria expect an unknown father from outside to come and straighten it out? The nation is in dire need of contemporary Fathers who will die at the work of developing the nation. They will show what stuff they are if only the people are ready and will let them. These are the ones that won’t relent until Nigeria becomes Our Fatherland.

Arise O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey.

To serve our Fatherland…

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