Hoping on Hope (Nigeria at 42)

by Oliver Mbamara

As Nigeria turns 42, critics have much to write and talk about although if critics were made to wear the mantle of leadership, they possibly would see differently. Regardless of the impression that may seem to prevail to the contrary, there have been, and there will still be outstanding Nigerian leaders. Within the past 42 years, there have been Nigerian leaders of exemplary character, dedication, and loyalty to the people, be it at the national, state, or local level.

Naturally, many may disagree with the preceding view, considering what the country’s leaders have offered since independence, and it is hard to discountenance such disagreement in view of incidents such as the ongoing battle between the legislature and the executive. Presently, the legislative arm of government is locked in an inexplicable deadlock with the executive, while many important concerns of the people remain to be addressed. Agreed, the arms of government should act as checks against the other, but in the present case in Nigeria, one is forced to ask, are these actions true checks or mere distractions? Are these confrontations motivated by sincere intentions to move the nation forward, or, are these selfish vendetta campaigns to boost egos and satisfy the lust for power at the detriment of the nation?

The answers to the above questions will depend on who is asked and to which camp that person belongs. However, Bob Marley, the reggae legend sang, “You can fool the people some time but you can’t fool all the people all the time.” Also, the Bible says, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows, that shall he reap.” In the name of politics and leadership, some people may do whatever they wish, but somehow, sometime, life will bestow its justice in the form of positive or negative rewards as is deserved. A spiritual time of self-reckoning and responsibility.

The Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad says, “The illusion of lost hope makes many a disease incurable, and the man who worries may kill himself with faulty thinking.” Just like an individual, Nigeria does have its positive and negative (maladies) attributes. And with regard to the nation’s maladies, many Nigerians will continue to hope upon hope for recovery. Hope alone may not do the magic of revamping Nigeria, but ‘to hope’ is certainly more fruitful than ‘to lose hope,’ or to self-destruct. This is only my understanding.


(A People’s Strength)

Do you see the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth?
Outlays of dreadful scenario, tribulations and persecutions,
Outcomes of ravaging strife and cases of tragic senselessness,
Clouded in the mist of gloomy sadness and melancholy,
Forcing our hopes as a people to remain so distant and faint.

As tomorrow approaches in creeping feet of uncertainty,
We fear the ambiguity contained in its ever-obscure bag
Filled with remnants of lasting sorrows, lack and oppression,
With echoes and choruses of a distraught and uncertain season,
Heralded by dominances of the most demoralizing dreams.

We dread the thoughts of days gone but unforgotten,
For their bitterness of deprivation and brutal pictures
Of agonies, injuries and wounds imparted by the past,
We become fearful of the future and its promises,
We weep and we wail, yet we wish and we pray.

We strive to cling and hold to the remains of hope,
Hoping upon hope but never giving up our spirit.
Determined to survive, we struggle and strive,
Hoping that one day, the hope that will be the last,
Would somehow bring us to the dawn of emancipation.

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