Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Becoming a Nigerian

Lets put this bluntly I am tired of cynical, opinionated, formally educated, elitist buffoons who constitute the greater portion both formal and informal commentators on this country Nigeria. The new sexy is that this is a failed state a new form of what their leader taught them that Nigeria is only a geographic expression. Never mind the fact that the peoples of this so called geographic expression belong to two, maximum four linguistic families. Nothing shows connection more than etymology and even more importantly they have inter-married, have shared histories and even similar mythologies. Perhaps more mind blowing is the archeology of the area links them so emphatically. It is true this pundits never let a fact come between them and their assumptions, a classic definition of bigotry. Of course it appears a curious thing that people can be bigoted against the country of their birth but this is not really true if you review it dispassionately. Most people born in this country have never matured to become Nigerians. They are largely individuals whose fear of failure and disappointment from expectations of greatness has turned them from grasshoppers to locusts. The true shame is that they hide behind the guise of failing governance to perpetuate their wanton destruction.

Take a look at Lagos State by all account with a Governor and Governance that has captured the public imagination with vision, commitment and dedication ably backed by the most Nigerian form of evidence of progress, shiny new infrastructure. Roads being built, refuse being cleared and new shiny buildings all the time. In fact parks are being thrown in for good measure. There are very few people who do not admire the government of Governor Fashola. Now that is my point can you see any change in the behaviour of the elite? Are they any more law abiding in lagos? Do they rush to pay their taxes? Are there any attempts to stop putting their debris on the roads or even the most dangerous behaviour drive against traffic when no one is there to stop them? By common agreement this is a committed government but where is the corresponding response of goodwill from the ever complaining educated, widely travelled and opinionated elite?

It takes more than citizenship to be a Nigerian, it takes an awareness of the privilege that it is to be part of this incredible aggregation of people. It demands a commitment to elevate oneself and fellows from the doldrums of self congratulatory mediocrity towards a relentless pursuit of excellence. it asks not for blind loyalty or patriotism or reflexive criticism but genuine insightful and seriously analysed perspectives both positive or negative. Perhaps most importantly it behoves a sacrifice for generations to come that does not absolve by blaming governmental failure but by accepting onerous duty that comes from the many lives lost in the creation, maintenance and defence of the idea of this most complex and improbable country.

God one day let me truly become a Nigerian.

1 comment:

Onibudo said...

Amen, my brother. I am not sure at the moment which of these sides of the same coin annoy me the most - the relentless Blind Patriots or the uncompromising Cynics. Both are guilty of intellectual laziness, blatant hypocrisy, unforgivable miseducation (especially of themselves) and betrayal of any sense of decency. The ones who complain the most are the ones that themselves demonstrate the worst excesses of the most nebulous aspects of our governments from time immemorial - lawless hegemonies writ small but all the more impactful for that, as the aggregation of numerous small poisons is more deadly to leviathan than the swingeing of what is usually a blunt weapon. And someone please tell someone that Nigeria is not Lagos and Lagos is not even Lekki to V.I!

As emailed by Olu Alake