How I Wish…

by Dr. Wunmi Akintide

How I wish that Nigeria, my country, could share a few of the fundamentals that have transformed another British colony like Nigeria into, arguably, the greatest country on Earth, and the Leader of the Free World in less than 200 years of its Independence on July 4, 1776. I am talking of the great “Uncle Sam” or God’s own country, my current home away from home, and a country that continues to amaze me, when I think of its humble or shall I say, its depraved beginning when the country was initially conceived as a haven for criminals, deviants and the never-do-wells of this world or simply as a haven for oppressed individuals running away from religious persecution and seeking for religious freedom and tolerance.

I wish to see Nigeria embrace some of the fundamental attributes that have made America great. I do so, however, with some trepidation and reservation as a born-again Christian. There are a few things I would not want Nigeria to emulate in America, if it were left to me alone. Nigeria adopting the same sex marriage like is legalized in a few states in America today is a “no go area” for me. Abortion by choice is another area. America going overboard to make herself the Police man of the World by attempting to dominate and impose her own standards on other countries or forcing them to play by the rules America has crafted for herself and her own self interest is another attribute I would not want my country to emulate. Having said that, there are some attributes that I see in America that I wish that my country could share or emulate. I see some similarities between the devotion and dedication of American and Nigerian founding fathers. I am talking of American leaders and Nigerian leaders that have led both countries to independence and the very sound foundation they have succeeded in laying for both countries and the personal sacrifices they have all made in doing so. Many of them were willing to lay down their lives for the survival of their nation like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln were willing to do. Many of our own pre and post Independence leaders in Nigeria can be said to have shared a lot of those attributes as well. As a matter of fact, many of them like the great Herbert Macauley, the great Zik of Africa, the great Sardauna Bello, the indomitable and the irrepressible Obafemi Awolowo and our easy going first Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa. the Late Aminu Kano andothers, actually showed as much commitment as the founding fathers of America.Some of them, Tafawa Balewa, Sardauna .

Bello and Obafemi Awolowo actually lost their lives in the process of serving our nation and standing up for what they believed.They were all men honor who were not in Government to enrichtheir own pockets and or to rob the nation, as the present generation is doingtoday.

The big difference I see between America and Nigeria is the fact that the generation that came after the founding fathers in America has made sure that the legacies passed on to them were not only preserved but renewed, rejuvenated, consolidated and improved upon. I cannot say the same thing of the generation that took over from our founding fathers in Nigeria. It is as if the quality of leadership has been deteriorating in Nigeria, ever since the founding fathers left the stage. When you compare the great American Constitution which I call the eighth wonder of the world, and what it has become in 200 years of its existence and the few milestone amendments that have been added to it by subsequent generations of American leaders, youhave got to give kudos to both generation of American leaders for keepingthe faith. How many of us can now remember how many times the Nigerian Constitution have been suspended and redrafted in 45 years of our Independence You can tell that our post independence generation of leaders are a far cry from the caliber of leaders they took over from.

Right now, as we speak, another attempt is being made to amend or rewrite the Nigerian Constitution, and our current President is going about it the wrong way putting the cart before the horse and putting his own individual interest above the overriding interest of the whole nation, and putting the entire destiny of a Nation in serious jeopardy. That is something America and its leaders would never do, and that takes me to the main crux of this article. How I wish that Nigeria could share some of the fine and enduring attributes of this great Nation. The first major difference I wish to comment upon is the way and manner the younger generation of American children are raised and educated. This country clearly recognizes that life begins to conception.Therefore pregnant women are offered prenatal and post natal services that guarantee that the foetus is cared for right from the womb. When the babies are born, they are raised to tell the truth, no matter the situation. They are not raised to tell the truth only when they are caught with their hands in the cookie jar. They are raised and nurtured to tell the truth at all times regardless of the situation. You still find a few rotten eggs that are pathological liars in this society, but I can tell you that 8 out of 10, if not 9 American children would look you straight in the face and tell you the truth as they know it. Not so with their Nigerian counterparts who seem to have learnt how to lie right from the womb.

The question then becomes how you can build and run a nation based on falsehood, and when you remember that this generation of youth becomes the future of our country down the road, you can understand if I tell you our future, as a nation, becomes suspect, given the behavior of most of our younger generation. Opinion poll sampling to forecast the outcome of an election before the result is known is only possible and realistic only when the people being sampled tell the truth. Using the same method for Census projection on a ten year basis is also possible when you are sure the people being sampled will not lie to you. You can hardly make such assumptions in Nigeria without missing your target.

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