I Am Still Hopeful For Nigeria

With the protracted and deepening of stench and decadence in government at all levels in Nigeria, with the seemingly undying and the “immortality” of corruption pervading the heart of our politics, polity, and ways of life; with despair all over the country despite the fact that we are getting richer and richer by the hour, my hope for Nigeria’s gleeful and glowing tomorrow may as well be considered as dead as dodo. But I am an apostle of hope; I just have to keep hoping that change will come to Nigeria in my lifetime. The on-going national Conference confirms the depth of the hole Nigeria is in as a nation. The vituperations from across the board further re-affirm that our challenges are more than what one party or one person can solve and resolve. Our problems are foundationally fundamental, and any expectation of just one person at the helm to effect any change may continue to be a pipedream. The debris that is a roadblock to progress cannot be excavated by one president, or one governor. For those who clamor for a change in the presidency, a change in the governor’s house, or an overhaul of the legislature with the hope for a lasting relief, prepare your mind for a disappointment. What we have is a corporate catastrophe that all of us-the bus driver, the pure-water seller, the civil servant, the police recruit, and all of us will have to fight together hands down. Without this approach, we will continue to live in la-la land.

The conference has also shown that trust is lost among the existing ethnic groups. When the Lamido of Adamawa spoke of shoveling his people across the border to live with strangers they really don’t know, I saw it as a big blow on our togetherness as a nation in whom some people no longer trust. When another group asks for a total control of the natural resources on its soil, it is a resistance against years of pillaging they have suffered in the hands of a cabal. When Christians are asking for the expunging of the words “mosques” and “Islam” from the constitution, it is a referendum they are asking for on what they think is a government policy dangerously lopsided. When Muslims are asking for fairness in representation at the conference, it is a push-back against what they believe is an attempt to muffle their voices. When young people are asking for old men to stop sleeping and dreaming dreams and start listening to them, it is a protest against the perpetuation of old-hands who continue to see themselves as the future, not as the past. The conference validates the fact that in Nigeria, trust is gone! When trust is lost in any form of relationship-business, marriage, friendship, and ethnic co-mingling in a nation, the relationship is sitting ugly on thin ice that is thawing out without the actors knowing or just ignoring it. There is no trust among the ethnic groups that make up Nigeria and it shows everywhere-In church, business, politics, market place, home and abroad.

In the US for example, Nigerian ethnic communities are as segregated as America was in the days of John Edgar Hoover. Everybody is in his tent except occasionally. Where there is no trust, there is no love, and where there is no love, there is no true living. The situation for Nigeria is getting worse! Those who think ethnic relationships are getting better may be hinging their expressions on self-deception, outright lies, and protection of vested financial interests. we are skating on thin ice, but the scorching sun is gradually showing up, and the ice may be thawing out, so skaters better be beware.

My hope for Nigeria’s survival and success is not hinged on any particular political party that will save the day. There are attractive things to me about all the political parties. But what we have on hand is more than partisanship or ethnicity; only the spirit of nationalism and patriotism can salvage this sinking ship. If you are looking for a political party in Nigeria where its principals have not soiled their fingers with the people’s money, or not bowed down their heads to the Baal of banditry and looting, you may have to travel 250,000 miles to the moon. You and I know, and it is true, that none of these guys is squeaky clean, and they know that we know. One party is not worse than the other in this regard. Money and lots of it is the only language politicians and power-seekers speak. Whether it is 20 billon dollars of missing Oil money or 20000 Naira of Local Government funds, stealing is what it is, and it is not a party thing, it is a systemic virus. Whatever you do in that system, you are prone to contacting the virus. To all those who are the icons now in Nigeria politics, please just remember that people are dying of hunger daily, and they are human beings like your wives, husbands and children. Remember that today or tomorrow somebody will die of a broken toe-nail because they can’t get good health care.

I still continue to hope that Nigeria will become greater to the surprise of many nay-Sayers. Emotion is running very high right now with blatant anger because people are hurting, and in pain, and hope is dim. But all of us are the hope and the deliverance that Nigeria needs. All of us must take back the nation. We have deferred so much to these leaders that all of the time, we let them they play god. The whole drama is bigger than President Jonathan or anybody who replaces him. It is about a people, a nation, a future, and a destiny. We don’t have to fight each other, and kill each other, we have poverty and sickness and squalor to fight and defeat. I look forward to that day when critics will not pick up their pens and microphones to shower “Hosanna” on looters based on a pinch of the loots tossed on their dinner tables.

I look forward to that day when pastors and Imams and other clergies will not aid, abet, pray and prophesy on and for stealers of our children’s destiny and thieves of our treasures because of deep-throat for money and more money. I look forward to that day when ethnicity will be not be a consideration in determining what is right and just for whom all rights and benefits are right and just. I await that day when “I am Yoruba” will just disappear from the radar, “I am Igbo” will fizzle out of the horizon, “I am Hausa/Fulani” will be buried in the bowels of yesterday, while “I am a Nigerian” will stand tall like a statue and tower around which every Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Fulani will mill in adoration and expectation for equity, fairness, justice, prosperity and hope for a better tomorrow from their own NIGERIA. I await that day when all Nigerians can boldly say; “I AM A NIGERIAN, AND I AM PROUD I AM”; and they will truly mean it! I am waiting for that day, and I hope I won’t have to wait forever! I hope not!


Written by
Fola Ojo
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