We are all a product of the beliefs that we hold to be true.
I have believed from my very young days that our country, Nigeria, is the cornerstone of God’s ultimate agenda for the black race. From the foundation of this great country which many people have described as the product of colonial political engineering, God’s unmistakable signature has been woven into the fabric of our nationhood; this is visible to the discerning eye. I do not believe in coincidences; neither do I believe that our lives and destinies are shaped by a series of random, uncoordinated events.
I believe that there is a reason why the second stanza of our national anthem is in fact, a prayer. I believe that these lines were divinely inspired. A pointer to the spiritual antecedents of this country. These words transcend creed so that their true meaning will not be lost in the religious bigotry that so often rears its head amongst us
O God of Creation, direct our noble cause,
Guide our leaders right.
Help our youth, the truth to know.
In love and honesty to grow and living just and true,
Great lofty heights attain,
to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.
And what is this noble cause, some may ask? The answer lies in the last line.
Let me quickly add here that the quest for peace and justice is the springboard from which human society has evolved. A famous scholar wrote that in the ‘state of nature’ the life of man is ‘brutish and short’. The reason why we as humans chose over the eons to dwell communally is that there might be peace for all, with everyone getting his fair share from society; we call it Justice.
This is the cause for which our founding fathers lived, fought and died.
This is our ‘noble cause’.
This is the cause that the post independence leaders of our people have abandoned, that the entire generation of post-independence youth has forgotten, that Nigerian children born after the golden years have no inkling of!
I vividly recall my joyful and carefree primary to junior secondary school years. Every morningI joined an army of thousands of young, naïve and happy scholars like myself reciting the words of this anthem all over the country, gathered at our respective schools’ assembly grounds, oblivious to the travails that lay ahead. Not knowing it at the time, but praying for our very future!
I can still feel the thrill. The excitement of marching in time to the cadence of the school band as the drums boomed…Left, right, left, right….we marched into the future…innocent, full of dreams, eyes sparkling with hope.
But youth ages, and mine has.
The innocence is gone! Slain by the treachery of our fathers. The dreams are dead; murdered by the conspiracy of our leaders.
A barrage of questions echo through my mind; I doubt if anyone my age will find them strange or unfamiliar….what happened to the prayers we said? Did we get it wrong or was God not listening?Where is the guidance we requested for our leaders? Was it delivered to the wrong address…or is God on vacation?
Why are we the way we are? Why must we leave home and country in search of our future? What is it that makes life in this country so difficult …can’t we get anything to work? Things are supposed to get better with time; why has our case been the opposite?
What is wrong with our leaders…do they even care about us? Have they forgotten that God is watching?
Ah…light comes!…perhaps they have not listened …Perhaps the Sirens of Greek mythology have bewitched them and they are blinded by their own lusts…leading us all into temptation and destruction…oh me, oh my…but wait! I must not speak so against my elders, I must bridle my tongue before I sin with my mouth.
…but I believe that God heard our prayers!
I will speak instead to my peers, my brothers, my sisters and my friends. I will speak to people of like mind. I will direct my words to those whose innocence may have been slain, whose dreams may have been murdered…but you still have a spark in your eye!
…hope may be frail, my friends, but it is hard to kill!
I believe that God has helped us to know the truth!
I believe that we have the power to live just and true!
I believe that we can attain great and lofty heights!
I believe, my friends, that the young men and women of this country can build a Nation, and not just any nation, we shall build a Nigerian nation. One which shall be known for the twin towers of Peace and Justice. Towers which no terrorist plot, be they indigenous or mercenary, can sabotage.
I believe that our individual and collective destinies can not be divorced from the fortunes of this country. This is what keeps my hope alive; I have implicit faith in the future of Nigeria as a country. This future rests in me and people like me.
We have the power to make our homeland what we want it to be.
Arise, O compatriots…
…Nigeria’s call, let us obey!