Nigeria: A Ridiculed Mother?

by Paul I. Adujie

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I Love Nigeria Just Because

Too many Nigerians complain and whine endlessly about the Nigerian condition.
Who wants a guy who is always whining and grumbling as some Nigerians are? What sane person wants toxic company not me! Stop cursing the darkness, light a candle please!

Critics of Nigeria should cease and desist from insisting that, conditions in Nigeria and, Nigeria herself, are irredeemably bad. See Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (UNPLUGGED)!
To continue to portray Nigeria as hopeless is the moral equivalents, of repeatedly scolding a child with a self-fulfilling prophecy of, you will never amount to anything, it is debilitating and demoralizing curse, no child should hear, even a juvenile delinquent! I am all for criticizing a child’s or anyone’s failings, it helps to shape focus. I will admonish a child and recommend that he become focused, vigorous and tenacious in his efforts. I will also find positive reinforcements periodically.

I will advise a child and state the things, in my opinion, he must do to succeed in life, and things that must be so done, and done urgently. I will emphasize to the child, that it is monumentally unwise, to neglect crucially important and significant things that must be done, timely or urgently. Emphasize the things that must be done better. I will never tell a child that he is useless and the worst of all children, that ridiculing and unhelpful!

In real life, we know for instance that there are those who think people of the African continent inferior in intellect to them. Saul Bellow once rejected the advocacy for diversity and political correctness by demanding that Africans show him Africa’s equivalents of Shakespeare, Mozart etc. But we all know that Africans have literature, dance and music, we all know that Africans have conversations without English or French. We all know that Africans can sing and dance without Mozart and Beethoven

We all know that Africans have stories of their own lives, of the scenic hills, mountains and valleys and fairy tales. Do we need a Shakespeare to prove these?

But there are people who believe that Africans have had no contributions to human development and human history, all this from those, who metaphorically have, copyrighted hatred for Africans and peoples of African descent. Those who are, all too happy, to think Africans inferior, the Klu Klux Klan and White Supremacy organizations and some regular everyday non-Africans, who think of Africans, as non-humans or subhuman. What I find quite gulling therefore, is when Africans or persons of African descent tend to, seem to, lend credence and support to what the KKK and other anti Africans and peoples of African descent say of us. We have no sustainable social political and economic structures they allege. We are irredeemable they add. These Africans then lend a scintilla of authority and legitimacy, to assertions of our supposed inferiority. Well, superior people may not denigrate themselves! Or support the assertions, wittingly or unwittingly, of opponents!

Nowadays, it is quite common to find “the” George Ayittey in many African intellectuals. They are too quick, too eager, to be critical and brutal, in the “analyses” of things African! They are too quick to say we are irredeemably corrupt. As they shout, Do not give foreign aid to Africa! Do not cancel debts owed by Africans, debts that spurious debts in the first place!

Nowadays, we have Africans who frequently call on the “international community” to “govern” Nigeria or take over Nigeria’s internal affairs. We have analytical Nigerian professor of chemical engineering, articulate Nigerian professor of literature and eloquent Nigerian professor of history etc, all in American universities, who are all too quick to deploy their intellects, professional and social connections, to the corrosive criticisms of Nigeria. Why wouldn’t these Nigerians deploy their talents and creativities positively, for the service of Nigeria? Why is it that, we seem to only find Nigerians like these who are eager to condemn Nigerian in most high profile manner? They always manage to surface! One Hundred Concerned Nigerians Abroad is an example of this service in reverse for our motherland.

Clearly, it should be understood by all that I am not against constructive criticism; But, I am against ridicule! I have argued and will continue to argue that we should rejoice in Nigeria and our Nigerian-ness. We should inspire and support Nigerians and Nigeria.

A country can only become great and remain great, when the citizens rejoice in her. Nigeria is not perfect, I understand this, for some, the field is greener everywhere right now, but in Nigeria. The truth however is, greener pastures or real and perceived conditions in countries, can be like, what a neighbors think they see of other neighbors. For instance, a dissatisfied housewife might think a neighbor’s wife luckier than she is, because the neighbor’s wife’s husband is handsome and drives a new car, but unbeknownst to wife, neighbor’s husband may be a wife abuser, physically and mentally. Neighbor’s husband’s car, may actually have an engine problem, despite its newness in appearance.

A cavorting neighbor husband of an overweight wife, may admire a his neighbor’s beautiful and trim wife, but, unbeknownst to cavorting husband, neighbor’s wife, has multiple personalities, despite her outward prettiness! And what is worse, she is a nag! A nagging wife that has stressed her husband to a few adverse cardiac events!

I am glad that we are finally having this conversation about patriotism and Nigeria. For a while, it, “patriotism” was a no-go-area of political discourse amongst too many Nigerians. It was “understood” by many to be a non-discussable-transaction, some find it quite offensive and it was a relationship, friendship and conversation breaker for too many! Patriotism, to too many Nigerians, was a dirty word! It was the ultimate insult!

A patriotism debate now, suggests that we are thinking, analyzing, and re-examining where we Nigerians stand in relation to our country, do we love Nigeria? Do Nigerians show love and enough love for Nigeria? Do Nigerians demonstrate patriotism? Must criticisms be the only sure way to show our affection for, and toward Nigeria?

Is condemning your child, your spouse, your friend, your dog etc the only way to seek improvement in their behaviors? Has unfriendly, harsh and damning criticisms worked for Nigeria? Is it time to modify or change tactics altogether Nigeria’s National Interests: A Moratorium And Change Of Tactics perhaps? I recognize the value of corrections, we all make mistakes hence all pencils come with erasers. I therefore quite understand the value constructive, as opposed to destructive, disabling and ridiculing criticism and purveyors, the critics.

I do not believe in flag burning, despite the right and freedom to do so. Those who would burn a national flag and denigrate their country’s flag claim and argue that they do so out of sheer love, as they demonstrate symbolically, their profusion of patriotism in a “blaze“. But we still must wonder about those other citizens of same country, who continue to fly, wave and glorify the same flag! This is the real blaze of glory! Loving our country is similar to the overwhelming ramifications the elimination of corruption would have on our society. Achieving both, will improve our society tremendously, because a lack of love or patriotism allow or permit pillaging and plundering, when you love, you don’t cheat!

And no reasonable person invites rape, or demand the rape of his lover, such as would happen, if there were a violation of Nigeria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, were foreigners to accede to some Nigerians’ call for foreign interventions in our internal affairs

I urge all Nigerians to inspire and support Nigerian leaders for the best governance. Nigerians should constructively criticize, and contribute to Nigeria’s development, advancement and greatness, nothing less. And yes, we are all patriots. We all wish the very best for Nigeria!

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1 comment June 6, 2007 - 9:24 am

Ah… the trouble with Nigeria and Nigerians… Although it is often quite difficult to see any good in a Nigeria that has allowed fellow citizens to burn each other quite well, it is certainly unhelpful to say that Nigeria cannot be redeemed and is completely lost. Our culture is a harsh one. We tend to unwittingly rain curses on our own heads as easily as we rain them on the heads of others. We tend to think that the harsher the pronouncements the more effective it will be in obtaining the results we desire. We rarely if ever identify where we are a part of the problem. Few of us resolve to restrain ourselves so that we do not add to the problem. More of us join "them" because we feel helpless to stop "them". Some of us abandon "them" because we are weary and battle scarred. The rest of us vacillate between camps because we are afraid to be categorized. The challenges are monumental and many of us are indeed responsible for bringing the country to its present state . We are just as responsible for the state of the country as the foreign governments we like to blame. Some of us are more responsible for the mess on ground than others. Those ill-gotten foreign residency documents are as detrimental to Nigeria as the huge Swiss bank accounts! Indeed we must neither flog the errand child to death with our tongues nor must we humiliate the mother by verbally lynching her. However, one assumes that the leaders know better and it is difficult to remain calm or mildly angered while a mother of millions of children allows them to be devoured and to devour each other because mother dearest refuses to operate mechanisms to stop this. Let us re-examine and reject our OLD ways that reject objectivity and compassion. Let us reject our NEW culture that calls deviant / criminal behaviors ingenious when it yields profit because when all is said and done we all suffer from the messy splatter of our roguish brothers and sisters. Perhaps these are Nigerian sized growing pains that will eventually give rise to a true Nigerian democracy.


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