This is the chant that sings on our lips. A country with over 200 million people with hearts to win in every way possible. There is a pride that swells in our chest as we recite the brave words that pledge allegiance to our father's land. A population with over two hundred and fifty (250) spoken indigenous languages and English as the lingua franca, diversity is indeed an understatement. The stories of the Benin kingdom, the Nok culture, and legends like Queen Amina of Zazzau are etched into our hearts reminding us of our antecedents.
With what we were and who we are, what is the constant feeling of loss that fogs the future?
Humanity is blessed with the gift of growth, the ability to educate, integrate, format and manipulate concepts into our thought process and life principles. This has served as a building block to the technological, economic and political advancement that we have enjoyed. Also, a secret ingredient to tendencies for greater ideas. Thus far, this gift has lacked an effect on the Nigerian people, seeming like time has stopped. This is a consequential outcome of one of many such as greed. The concept of greed in this case does not necessarily apply solely to monetary greed, but greed in every sense of life. The inability to look beyond ourselves and see ourselves as a body of people makes the nation and not the nation that makes the people. We have chosen to be sole benefactors of a diminishing inheritance forgetting the generations to come and the dreams of our hero's past. It has become a norm to use one's position to serve as a means to eat from the 'national cake' and accepted greed as a value system and a measure for smart and successful individuals. The few ones that stand out and refuse this ugly mindset are seen as foolish and ostracized from society.
A great cause of this cancerous tumour called greed that has eaten so greatly into society is the state of dying moral standards. Its ripple effect was the birth of greed. Time needs to be retraced and we need to ponder and return to a time when thieves were not celebrated as rulers and patriotism was the passcode. A time when wrongdoing was punished and perpetrators were not left to parade their ill-acquired wealth. A time when justice was the air we breathe. Morality breeds accountability which is needed to rid society of greed. A government that feels accountable to the people would ensure a sanctity that births a new nation. In the same vein, the leaders who fought for independence are now the fore frontiers of corruption. Their insistence and refusal to support the youth in stepping into governance have stood as a drawback in morphing the country and integrating the minds of today into governance. The leaders of tomorrow are yet to be given a chance.
Phenomenons like "the great wall of Benin" and "the groundnut pyramids of Kano" were proud heritage edifices that were built on the possibilities we could achieve with a set goal and united front. However, our agricultural prowess has been relegated to the background since the discovery of crude oil in 1956, which caused redundancy in appreciating our agricultural gift. Our cocoa and Rubber plantations are only but a few of these agricultural products that have suffered the effect of this negligence. Furthermore, in the cause of creating the constitution, there was a vision. With the recent turn of events such as the Lekki shooting, one would ask, who does the constitution truly protect? This has planted doubt in the minds of the people against the government. This reemphasizes the need for accountability between the people and the government.
In the midst of the gloom, the sun peaks at us, and a gleam of hope for the ones to come shines at a new dawn. It is time to rise and refuse the apathy that has allowed greed to strive for a place of influence. Citizens should feel the burning need to fight the stereotypes and step up into positions of authority without the resolution of loss before trying. The 'other person’ should not be responsible but everyone should feel responsible for the nation's development and growth. To maintain our development, we should not forget the principles that grew us to where we are.
Importantly, the sole reliance on crude oil as a major export should stop and the economy needs diversification. Thankfully, steps towards the practicality of this and bringing it to reality have begun but the pace I must say is rather slow and lackadaisical. There is so much to be considered to take us to where we want to be in which most likely, a large percentage of the population is aware of this fact but the question is "who is listening?"