Mr. Dele A. Sonubi
Former Student of Dr. Tai Solarin
The Traffic Wardens in Tattered Uniform, Mortified but in High Spirits at Duty Posts:
The Police Officers In Scorching Sun Who Sweat But Still Perform His Or Her Duty:
The Army Officers Who Stand At Attention to Assist “Bloody Civilians”:
The LASMA Officials Who Remain Unmoved By the Madness of Lagos Traffic:
Those FRSC Officials Who Refuse To Close Because Traffic Is Not Clear Yet:
Those Nigerians Who Are Paid Peanuts But Work For Nigeria:
Those Who Put The Nation First Before The Self, Who Are Nameless And Receive No Accolades Of MON or OON:
Their Head of Department
Their Superior Officer
Their Commanding Officers or
Dear Sir, / Dear Madam, / Dear Fellow Citizen of Nigeria,
Re: Happy Independence Day Celebration And Seasons Wishes
First, let me apologize very sincerely for the late coming of this letter. It is not that I have joined the others who do not care about you or your selfless efforts, but for one reason or the other, I could not put this letter together and send it to you until now. Nevertheless, be assured, that every time I drove by and you signaled my car to move without looking at me, every time I walked past you and you gave my hail of you a cheerful salute, every time I came by your office and you greeted me heartily, my heart ached for not completing this letter to you before now.
THE MAIN OBJECTIVE:
eason for sending this letter to you today is the following: I want to congratulate you, as I do other Nigerian friends, on the occasion of the celebration of Nigerian’s Independent Anniversary – October 1. This date is a symbolic date because it marks the accumulation of our collective efforts, the selflessness and belligerence of our founding fathers- those nationalists who fought so that we might have a nation governed by its own people. That freedom of self governance was given to us on October 1, 1960. I want to congratulate you on this occasion of the commemorations of October 1st and to invite myself to celebrate with you as we remember the promises we make on daily basis; that “… the labor of our heroes past, shall never be in vain….” Finally, I want to give you season’s wishes.
YOU ARE NOTICED:
Several times we had driven past you at your duty posts; the police posts, “roadblocks”, checkpoints, LASMA traffic controls and so many other spots where you perform your official duties irrespective of who was watching. We noticed that you are still dedicated in your work from the moment you resume till the moment someone else comes to relieve you. In the rain, in the scorching sunshine, in the peak of harmattan you guys continue to direct vehicles and scream at Okadas to get out of the way. I often wonder from where you get your strength and faith in your work! In spite of the peanut Nigeria pays you (compared with what we earn in the private sector) you hardly relent in your functions! You guys are constantly faced with drivers who try to play smart at you, who splash rainwater at your already tattered uniforms; car owners inside air-conditioned cars who look out of their windows to ask you “who do you think you are?” and Nigerians who spit at you because you stopped their cars for others to pass. In spite of all these, you do not relent in on your efforts, the following day, you are at work and sometimes promptly too. Your other colleagues are at the station complaining of lack of salary or seeking N20.00 tips from commercial buses but these are not your immediate concerns, you believe in the larger picture; the “Nigerian Project.”
Let me assure you that as decayed as Nigeria might look, as hopeless as one might think of this country; there are still some people- few though, but mighty enough to be reckoned with, who are as patriotic and who hold this country dear to their heart as much as you do. You might not have noticed them because they always refuse the temptation of driving in the opposite directions. These few ones will never drive on foolhardy while you raise your hands for them to stop. They are noble, they are decent, and they are men and women who have honor! They are few but they will never stop in the middle of the road to salute friends or cause “go-slow” because they have big cars. They stick to their lanes, they remain patient, they think of others as much as you do. Sir/Madam, whenever you get frustrated or tired of doing what you do best; please remember these other few Nigerians and from their existence, renew your strength. And it is on behalf of these few ones- and myself, that I send you this letter of felicitation.
OUR COMRADES IN THE OFFICE:
Many times one had entered public offices and came out without the normal shaking of tone’s head in total despair. This is because some civil servants do their work as paid. We recognize you, our public civil servants in the ministries, in the government hospitals, inside the local government offices. You who are paid shitty salaries by Nigeria, yet you do your work without remorse. You are honest, diligent and steadfast in your work. You are so few that you will never get noticed by those who give national awards such as MON, OON, and other big recognitions to “deserving Nigerians”. National awards will rather be given to “big” men and women whose dedications to this country are because they are under spotlights and performing to the gallery of different audience or are dancing to the tune of a president who is hell-bent on actualizing himself for life. Your contributions are minute and hardly noticeable on a grand scheme. However, let me assure you that there are people in the private sectors who are embarrassed that you remain unacknowledged. They remember the last time they visited your office and how easy it was for them to receive help from you without paying a kobo! They know you have need for money. They remember you had not been paid several months salaries. Yet you do your job. You take your food outside to eat and you do not sleep in the office while people are waiting and watching. You have decency, integrity and honor! Those who have noticed your efforts are many. You cannot believe it; there are lots of them. And they have agreed to sign this letter to you. They said if anyone deserves a note of congratulation on the commemoration of Nigerian’s independence, it is you and not “them”!
NIGERIANS WITHOUT HONOR:
Beloved, there are so many things wrong with Nigeria. Fela saw and sang about them. Prophets saw visions and cautioned us against many things. But there are some Nigerian miscreants who are bent on making sure Nigeria does not work! These miscreants falsify notes, they steal votes, they cause rumbles in the polity; they create mayhem; instigate political chaos; impeachments; orchestrate kidnap of politicians; use the police to commit murder and “borrow” guns to armed robbers to torment the entire polity. They betray public trusts; they burn public office
s and assassinate people who are nonconformists. Funnily enough, they are big people; men and women in high places! But this letter of felicitation is not about them. Their rewards are different from yours. This letter is about you, about your efforts, your labors and your faith in Nigeria.
Today, we celebrate you, because until now, you remain uncelebrated and unacknowledged. We give honor to you because your sincerity, your efforts, your motivation, your diehard attitudes to your work, your refusal to be tempted, are marks of honor. We salute your benevolence, your refusal to ill-use the Nigerian official seal illegally, your rugged believe that every little thing you do – though unobserved or unseen by anyone – bears great dis/honor to the big name Nigeria! We commend your faith in Nigeria- even if you think it is a huge contraction and a big mistake. Today, as we celebrate Nigeria at 46, we celebrate you as well!
In recent development, when you give a Nigerian recognition, s/he asks what the (monetary) value of the recognition is. My dear recipient, forget the N13 billion stolen by Tafa Balogun, forget the fact that Iyiola Omisore, became a senator of the federal republic while in prison, awaiting trial for the murder of Bola Ige. Please do not read newspaper headlines about PDP and Obasanjo’s numerous antics. If you hear the amount of atrocities those in government are committing, you will be discouraged. Do not think of those who flourish amidst hunger and poverty; those who “misplace” workers’ pension and grow fat on its interests. I know when you get home these days there is no electricity to operate your fans and chase away dreaded mosquitoes when you rest (and you are too grossly underpaid to afford the cheapest generating sets, forget about the cost of fuel and the refusal of station attendants to sell fuel in kegs to you without extorting you first). Please forget about those who had nothing before running for different political offices but are millionaires now, driving huge and luxurious cars at our expenses. When they were pleading for our votes and supports, they promised us constant electricity, more decent wages, more jobs, cleaner roads, better infrastructures. Remember how restless they are now; that irrespective of the judgment, Tafa Balogun will always be an ex-convict and the new Nigerian Police will even not want to remember his days in the Force! His children and the children of his children will be branded families of ex-convict! You may have nothing but you have you, your freedom, your honor and your conscience!
One day, our country will be better; many wrongs will be corrected. One day, no one will promote mediocrity and failure in this country but reserve kudos for excellence and dedication of service. One day, Nigeria will be the country of our dreams and hope. When that day comes, and Nigeria sings “…the labor of our heroes past shall never be in vain” your names, though unsung now, will be included in the long list of those honored men; the heroes!
…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”- Abraham Lincoln
Happy Independent Anniversary! Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Barka De Sallah!
Dele A. Sonubi
For and on Behalf of Nigerians who Appreciate Nigerians