Nigeria: A Ridiculed Mother?

by Paul I. Adujie

It is very gratifying, to read that some Nigerians who have created a cottage industry, and a niche market, in their virulent criticisms of Nigeria, are also patriots! So, even those whose profession, it seems, is to ridicule Nigeria ceaselessly at every opportunity, now say that they too, are patriots and that they love Nigeria?

Those who have been mauling, pummeling and pulverizing Nigeria, are now claiming patriotism as their excuse?

So, these persons who engage in destructive criticisms of Nigeria are now claiming that they too, are patriots? Should their pronouncements and actions not speak and demonstrate their patriotisms? Virulent criticism is intimidation and blackmail! Is not love!

However, I am happy to learn of these reaffirmations patriotism and love for Nigeria, even by those, whose destructive and ridiculing criticisms of Nigeria, have left the rest us to wonder about their faith in Nigeria, and Nigeria’s eventual outcome. It cannot be, and, it should not be, that acerbic, bellicose and caustic criticisms are the only way to show our Nigerian-ness, our dedication and commitment to Nigeria’s cause!

Isn’t it ironic? Quite like saying the use of damaging advertising is the only way to make a manufacturer improve its product, by instilling quality control? Or, is not like hoping that bad advertising and the ridiculing of a company’s product, is the best and, only way, to ensure that a company makes good and desirable product? Particularly, egregious, I think, is this sorts of logic, when, as in this case, those doing the damaging advertising, are shareholders and employees of the manufacturer of the product, for which enhancements and improvements are being sought! How can this be logical to anyone?

When I write about Nigeria, often I have argued and I will continue to argue, that, you cannot advertise that you mother is the worst cook, because if you do, you should be certain, that you will eat alone! As any of your attempt to sell or even give your mother’s cooking to others, will meet with resistance! This is because most reasonable persons are highly likely to believe your scalding assessment of your mother’s cooking skills. People will understandably rely on your critique of your mom’s cooking abilities, because it will be assumed that you are fair and objective about your mother, especially that you have had opportunities to sample her cooking over time, and ordinarily, most persons in the world, would probably say, their moms are the best cooks! You would eat alone, please eat alone if you lack finesse, and announce on NTA that your mother is the worst cook on earth!

Those who are pessimistic and cynical about Nigeria, seem to think that they deserve national and international awards for their negative general dispositions towards Nigeria, even while they insist that those, who are optimistic and forward looking are naïve, stupid and mere sycophants or opportunists!

When and where does patriotism and loving Nigeria begin? It is the case that Nigerian leaderships, good or not so good, arise from the citizenry. Angelic citizen would not become a satanic president or governor, senator etc. There is not magic pill or tablet to turn a satanic citizen, into a sudden angelic president, governor or what have you.

It is safe to say, that our lack of love for Nigeria, the absence of patriotism toward Nigeria, and the loss of desire to protect and preserve Nigeria, rises from the citizenry to the top, be it political leadership, economic/corporate leadership or even religious leaderships. A lack of patriotism and love for Nigeria should therefore be seen as not transcendental, as the same virus transcends and permeates all sectors. A bad church-congregant may then become a bad pastor as a bad mosque-goers may become a bad imam. Churches or Mosques do not import persons from other faiths to lead it. So, if you hear of a bad political leader, a bad corporate leader, a bad religious leader, think of the general society from whence they all come. Good citizens? Good leaders! Leaders are us!

Where do our political leaders come from, if not from the citizenry?
Or why is corruption rampant in every state, level, almost every state?

Some Nigerians are quick to quote William Samuel Johnson to support their unfeeling and unwarranted denigration of Nigeria, they are quick spout and, quote ” Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.” OK, I am a patriot and a scoundrel, but what should we call traitors, blackmailers and those who lampoon and ridicule Nigeria? I am parodied and denigrated as a scoundrel, because of my very purposeful stridency in advocating patriotism and love for Nigeria. I will wear the scoundrel badge and label, as an honor!

Nigerians must not think of patriotism or love for Nigeria, only in terms of benefits! Nigerians must, as well, consider duty, sacrifice and service to Nigeria. After all, we know that Americans who are homeless and in abject poverty, still love America. We know that American troops being slaughtered in the needless Iraq war, are still patriotic despite Bush Most Americans are patriotic, even when, and if, they despise the government of the day!

Survivors in New Orleans’s Hurricane Katrina calamities still love America. African Americans who have been historically treated, as if, subhuman, visited with racism, discriminations and egregious segregations, are still in love and patriotic in America!

Nigerians who do not love Nigeria, or have not thought of patriotism, all seem like bad workmen, they quarrel with their tools for poor quality work. Nigerians who have not demonstrated patriotism or love for Nigeria now say, it is only because Nigeria has not given them heaven, gold, diamond and oil blocks! What comes first, love or its rewards?

Patriotism or love defy mathematical calculations and apportionments, how would a Nigerian calculate the patriotism of a gallant Nigerian soldier, who makes the supreme sacrifice with his life serving Nigeria, compare a soldier’s life to a wheelchair-bound paraplegic/ quadriplegic, both, with professed love for Nigeria. How much is their lives worth, how many oil blocks, gold or diamond and Naira should each receive?
Most of those who ridicule Nigeria, actually received free or near-free education from primary to university degree levels or received scholarship to come overseas and they never returned or gave back to our society, any returns on Nigeria’s investment in them!

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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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