Many years ago, we sang and danced:
‘Ngeria we hail thee,
Our own dear native land,
Though tribe and tongue,
In brotherhood we stand.
Nigeria, our promised land,
Our sovereign mother land.’
The golden days of old, The distant days of yore. The solemn days of love, The selfless days of service,
The reflective days of quality education,
The creative days of stable and robust economy,
The patriotic days of national pride,
The hopeful days of prospect and bright future, if they ever existed.
In the midst of doubts and fears.
If they ever were celebrated.
In the midst of uncertainty and suspicions.
They are gone.
When our armies were our pride and confidence. Though with questions unanswered.
When our military was a true symbol of national unity.
Though some may hide in dissimulation.
When we marked and treated our differences with mutual understanding and respect.
Though with natural enough marked biases.
They are gone.
Nigeria as an independent nation has existed for fifty-eight years. And for fifty eight years, she has manifested a very unsettling political anemia .
She has celebrated her differences more than her similarities. As if there are no similarities indeed. And no common grounds. She has celebrated hate over love. As if there had been no love, and no grounds for love. She has celebrated tribalism, ethnicity and sectionalism over collective and shared existence, as if there is a natural ancient landmark (of tribalism) that decades of political courtship, togetherness and education have been divinely ordered not to tamper with. She has celebrated bigotry, dichotomy and religious acrimony, and intolerance over civilization, universal brotherhood, cross-cultural and inter-ethnic embrace and warmth, and global citizenship, as if there is a conspiratorial injunction, and pre-Adamic disillusionment all forged in the fiery furnace of historical satanic enmity that seemingly melt and dash any iota of hope of truly ‘standing in brotherhood’
She has celebrated the pseudo-glory of the unfaithful debased mechanisms of corruption and nepotism over integrity, accountability, fairness, merit and equity, as if there is no true faith in her future; and every section needed to do a grab; and plundered her before her oil dries and the green pastures turn to a lifeless wilderness.
Nigeria, for fifty-eight years has celebrated human sacrifice and rituals over security and sacrosancy of life as if the foundation of her political independence was laid with the human blood of her ethno-religious and ritualistic ‘abortions’, and there is the need to continuously activate the sacrifice with more blood.
She has presented herself as beauty without brain, and celebrated mediocrity and cluelessness over sophistation, judgement, and vision as if everyone, including the so called intelligentsia is eternally and irredeemably hypnotized, and cast into the bottomless dungeon of inexplicable amnesia and loss of self-worth.
Nigeria has been a victim of bad leadership and helpless citizenship. And this situation will continue for much longer a time except we wake up and go for the type of leadership we need.
Nigeria, for fifty-eight years has been able to produce wonderful, credible, and selfless regional leaders, but not a single national leader. Leaders like Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. M. I. Okpara, Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, etc, were unarguably respected, credible and great (regional) leaders of their people, but not at National level.
These leaders appeared to have great love and vision for their people at regional levels, but with little or no vision for other parts of this nation. This has endured over the decades with little improvement with one or two contemporary leaders.
Nigeria needs a true national leader who will overcome all intractable odds of ethno-religious and tribal pressures, and for once look at Nigeria as his or her single constituency. A true bride to adorn and adore.
Nigeria needs a leader, who has the courage to navigate the murky waters of ethno-religious and party sentiments. It is not easy to get such a leader. But it is not impossible.
On this 58th independence anniversary, we call on Nigerians to wake up from this fifty-eight year slumber and unpardonable abdication, and for once search for the leadership that will be acknowledged by history as a true national leadership. Not in status, but in disposition, vision, judgment, and approach.