NIGERIAN CULTURE: PATRIOTISM AND PRIDE
On 1st October 1960, the founding fathers of Nigeria looked forward to a great country we could all be proud of.
Nigeria, as a nation, has change drastically from the simple, comfortable and manageable entity it was to a more complex, sophisticated, and difficult polity to govern.
We can count our blessings in term of socio-political, economic and infrastructural developments and say that we have not done badly compared to many countries in Africa and other third world countries; after all, Rome was not built in a day.
While some Europeans countries can count the duration of time in which their countries developed in thousands of years, other developed countries can count theirs in century.
Nigeria, as a nation is just five decades, a short time in cosmic time scale to call it as failed nation or score as successful nation according to international standards.
There is nothing happening in Nigeria that does not happen in other countries in the world. It was Gustave Flaubert who once remarked that: “our ignorance of history makes us libel our own times. People have always been like this.”
Most grown up Nigerians today are very good at making uncomplementary and irresponsible remarks about the state of nation as if we have another country under the sun we can proudly call our own.
The younger generation of Nigerians have join the bandwagon, since they are heirs of a “narrative of the lie” that sees nothing good about Nigeria to commend but evil to condemn.
Matthew Kelly makes a timeless statement when he asserts that: “if you wish to poison a nation, poison the stories that nation listens to.” and we relish telling and re-telling our poisoned national stories.
A thief that has no opportunity to steal will count himself virtuous and most of those who cast aspersions on our political religious leaders will do worst things if entrusted with positions of leadership.
What we need more now than ever before is patriotism and authentic national pride. We must be patriotic by thinking positively and telling uncontaminated stories about our dear country, Nigeria.
One is not advocating blind patriotism that sees nothing wrong in Nigeria. It would be naïve and infertile to think all is well with our nation and people. On the other hand, it would be chronic amnesia to think we have nothing to be proud of as a nation.
As bad as those outside Nigeria think the country is, one is yet to see a Nigerian law graduate working as a security guard in court room. It is not common to find a graduate of geology working as a petrol station attendant. It is unthinkable to find a qualified medical doctor working as a public bus driver; we have enough hospital to absorb the work force. It is an oddity to find a catholic priest or an imam working as hotel bar attendant or dish washer in other to earn a living.
Notably, the same situation is obtainable in other countries in the world. No country will subject its crop of trained professionals to ridicule.
Regrettably, many Nigerian professionals are content to settle for anything outside the shores of Nigeria in other to earn a living which back home they cannot get involved in without suffering the loss of self esteem and deserved personal human dignity.
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