Patriotism, national pride of dedication and love towards our nation is not only deflated but has been adversely battered
The historical inception of Nigeria dated back to 1914 when the Northern and Southern Protectorates were amalgamated by Sir Fredrick Luggard who was the Governor-General during the British colonial administration. Sadly, Nigeria as a national entity, political framework and geographical landscape over a century has not overcome ethnic colouration, political sentiment, and religious bigotry, and obviously patriotism is flawed.
We have succeeded in churning out theoretical papers at different fora to feign solutions to our numerous problems, but the underlying key which is the practicability of our patriotism to our country has remained a hard nut to crack. And, that in no doubt has been the bane of our progress as both leaders and followers do not regard the country as a treasured project to preserve, rather sufficient resources to squander.
It is erroneous that our political conversations up till this 21st century still criticise the motives and actions of the colonial lords who designed our nation. Rather than channeling our energy on the course to be progressive and self-reliant, we languish in frivolous actions of subverting our country. The point at the moment is that Nigeria, a home of more than 200 million people is being sabotaged because its people of 250 ethnic nationalities woefully fail to embrace patriotism.
Patriotism, national pride of dedication and love towards our nation is not only deflated but has been adversely battered. The case for the Nigerian citizens is deteriorating to the extent that we cannot genuinely gather to discuss national issues without digressing to score sentimental cheap points in political, ethnic, and religious debates, which are hitherto irrelevant.
There have been many issues recently in the country, and we can be sitting on the keg of gun powder unless we honestly upgrade our patriotism. I think the only time we find ourselves agreeing without prejudice is when the national football team playing, and we won’t hesitate to hug one another if we win a game or competition at our best. It is saddening however that, that has been a long time which is a miserable experience from the same unpatriotic engagements of our political leaders. Underfunding, impromptu planning towards preparation among other deficiencies (which is the story for another time) are still negating the progress of our footballing affair in this country.
There are disturbing stories of verbal attacks and threats oozing out from Edo politics, worsening security issues, different approaches of Diezani and Atiku addressing youths, Governor Nasir el-Rufai and Nigeria Bar Association.
All these boiling issues shouldn’t have been an issue to us if our patriotism is correct, but the most appalling debate I observe that calls for a rethink among our leaders is the clamour for Igbo Presidency in 2023 general elections in the country, my heart bleeds for the once called ‘Giant of Africa,’ if our motives are not productive.
The debate, if we think deeply as a nation should reveal what we weigh. There are obstinate anomalies ranging from corruption, insecurity, deteriorated infrastructures, unemployment that our political leaders should be sweating to eliminate, but who becomes what, is what they are busy chasing at the moments.
While the discussion that the Nigerian President of Igbo extraction should emerge in 2023 is a logical and fair calculation going by the gentleman agreement of rotation, the unfortunate twist is the flawed submissions for and against this idea, which further make one ask if our national leaders are serious with the Nigerian agenda. I see Igbos saying the fact that they are mostly found in all parts of the country should be enough reasons for one of them to occupy the most coveted seat in the country come 2023. And, in contrast, the antagonists are saying competence should be the standards for the next president to rule the country as if Nigeria has ever had a competent president in a long while. At least, not one that I have experienced. If there has been a competent president, infrastructural decay that has been a social problem in the school curriculum when I was primary school wouldn’t still be an issue to write about now.
Nigeria cannot record any progressive achievement when our patriotic tendencies are low. Our development will only remain scribbled in papers devoid practical reality until we employ the dedication, struggle and agitation of our past leaders like Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe and others who fought for our independence; or, the kind of vanguard that flooded the country after June 12 saga, in which the country was united against tyranny, chaos and tension till democratic rule was birthed in 1999.
It is high time Nigerians voted a presidential candidate not campaigning to build schools, construct roads or erect hospitals; but a patriot that would share a vision of Nigeria modelling advanced nations in implementing policies that would make our country a number one Africa’s destination for tourism and education. Our country has the capacity to have one of the best soccer leagues in the world that Europeans would come and play as well as invest in our leagues. Our country is the world’s fifth-largest producer of oil, and I dare say that we can achieve great records if we only have patriotic leaders on the high side.
The roads to economic and political achievements would be bumpy, and the tasks demanding but patriotic leaders can engineer the mechanisms to achieve them, and the present camouflage for demanding competence would not be a benchmark because loyal followers cannot let their patriotic leaders suffer, and vice versa. A country where all the citizens irrespective of political affiliations, ethnic dissimilarities or religious differences profess and practise patriotism cannot find any challenge insurmountable. And, in my opinion, wish but mostly fair share, I want to see but a patriotic Igbo personality rule this country, at least for me to have a view of what a Nigerian Igbo President looks like.