Who are we as Nigerians? What exactly do we stand for these days? Nothing perhaps?
Nigerians are now fanatical about Arsenal , Liverpool and Manchester United etc; all clubs of the English Football Association, as if these teams are Nigerian teams! Our Super Eagles have no wins, and so, they are no longer attractive, our teams have lost their luster
Meanwhile, President Obama and other Chicagoans continue to support Chicago Cubs, even though the Cubs have not won a championship in Mr. Obama’s 49 years of life on earth, he and others remain faithful to the Cubs. Similarly, New Orleans natives remained loyal to the Saints even though the Saints had no championship to their credit for a million years almost!
Nigerians seem to think booing our national teams will motivate them, or ditching our national sports teams for foreign ones is wise? The population of Nigeria is more than that of England, and Nigerians are proud of how well we speak and write English, instead of a profound debate about how to communicate and promote Nigerian languages!
All politics is local, all sports is local, supporting or adopting foreign teams because your home teams have dry spell or losing streak is poor substitute for planning to win and rooting loyally for your teams.
What wise child pretends his neighbor is his father merely because his neighbor is richer than his biological father? Who told England that it could export English and whose permission does Nigeria need to export Nigerian languages?
Nigerians are now too quick to portray Nigeria and everything Nigerian as second-rate mediocre inferior?
It is time for attitude adjustment on the part of all Nigerian citizens at home and abroad. The quality, value of citizenship or lack of both, are crucial national questions, which Nigerians have seemingly not answered.
It is clearly time to revisit our sense of nationalism and patriotism.
Clearly, it is time for a paradigm shift in our collective outlook and worldview, views of ourselves individually and our views about fellow Nigerians. It is time to reassess our sense of ourselves and our eventual outcome as nation. It is time, and we are behind schedule. Our national progress and advancement, national greatness depend, crucially, on our sense of ourselves and our place in the world, and there is no better time than now, to do a rethink!
Our national elections are just a few months away, another opportunity to determine our collective future. We must insist on competence, track records and subject all political candidates and their myriad political parties to the highest scrutiny.
We must act now, the general elections in our beloved nation is set for January 2011, for it will be too late in February 2011 to whine and complain, after the elections. Our national malaise and or national funk and state of Anomie should be debated now! This is the time to rigorously and vigorously examine the political parties, their candidates for elective offices and the policies and programs, foreign and domestic, upon which these parties and candidates canvass for our votes!
There are no better times than now, to ask searing questions of ourselves and of others, who wish Nigeria well. The following questions should be asked and answered, and these questions are by no means exhaustive; First among these important questions is, Where is our self-definition and self-assertion and national purpose? And secondly, Where is Nigerians’ self-confidence and swagger, what happened to us? Nigerians were not always tepid and timid or lacking in confidence.
My third question which is connected to the first two questions above, is, Where is Nigerians” Can-Do attitude? What happened to our audacity? Where is our sense of audacity, courage, boldness and heroism? What changed our upbeat outlook and our self-propelled goal getter disposition
Where is our superb intellect, when did we accept second rate, second fiddle agreeing to act only as followers, instead of leaders and pacesetters on the world stage? How did our national psyche become so DAMAGED? Did all these damages come about as a consequence and legacy of military government? When did we, Nigerians, become inferior and accepted inferiority status? How did we accept stagnation, stymied and stunted economic and political growth as fait accompli?
Nigerians seem to always allow outsiders to define Nigerians and Nigeria and what is important to Nigerians and Nigeria, and, Nigerians seem to be so intellectually objective in the most academic and most abstract sense
Nigerians are always “objective” never caught in unreasonable or illogical, position in defense of Nigeria. This persists, even though the rest of the world is too often unreasonable and illogical as when it pleases them and when it is expedient for them.
Israel for instance and in many instances, is ever willing have disregarded the United Nations and so-called international community regarding nuclear arms and Israel’s brutal dealings Arabs Persians, Palestinians and the rest of the world learns to adjust or live with Israeli actions. When it pleased the US, it unreasonably and illogically, invaded and occupied Iraq, Grenada and Panama, bombed Libya etc
The way the world works starts from a keen and astute appreciation of citizenship. For example, an 18 year sold American will enlist in the military to die for American causes, whether such causes are illegal, illogical and unreasonable. And all this, even before the 18 year old has had a chance of understand, let alone enjoy life as an American and as a person. A homeless American, down on his luck, nevertheless, was recently caught on security camera, as he rescued American flag and accorded the flag utmost respect, folding it gingerly and in a formal way!
But a Nigerian with a PhD from Nigeria or Harvard, will intellectually logically and reasonably talk polemically and semantically, some BS about deferring to the UN and international community on matters purely national and strategic interests to Nigeria
All this leads to the question as to, where might we find the Nigerian who is willing to do reasonable and not so reasonable things to promote Nigeria’s national interests? Where are the Nigerians who are willing able and ready to be unreasonable and illogical in the defense of our national interests?
Each time that I listen to the so-called Nigerian elite or the Nigerian middle class debate anything Nigerian in comparison with anything American and European, I come away with the impressions or conclusions that a majority of Nigerians with formal education in the western sense, possess a skewed view of Nigeria and things Nigerian.
It is often sadly the case that Nigerian elite or middle class always come across as brainwashed Pavlov dogs, who are willing to believe any label which is pinned on Nigerians and Nigeria. It is frequently the case that, too many Nigerians will accept, believe a wrong label pinned on Nigerians and Nigeria, by anyone, especially if such label is pinned on us by some westerners.
Majority of Nigerians never seem to question such labels and the motives of those behind such unsavory definitions and labeling of Nigerians and Nigeria. These days, it is quite common to witness too many Nigerians accept and repeat labels about us, even when such labels do not and would not stand cursory scrutiny; even a label on a bottle which says Pure Orange, even if the bottle actually contains sugar and food colors of the orange hue. It is pure orange, so long as the Americans and Europeans have first proclaimed it so! Too many Nigerians seem splendidly and blissfully oblivious auto-suggestions, branding and marketing, and the downward definitions of Nigerians and Nigeria by our competitors.
Interactions with our middle class or elite rapidly reveals how too many Nigerians are liable to come across in debates about national and international issues; as if they are splendidly u
naware of how the world works, and they would buy an over priced used car, so long as the American and European seller, first attaches an exorbitant price twice removed from reality, but rapidly announces that, that exorbitant price is a sale favor to Nigerians!
It is just extraordinary, how too many Nigerian elite seem to often miss the subtleties and nuances of enlightened national interests of other nations exulting themselves, while subjecting our nation and our continent to excruciating downward definitions and barrages against our image.
Too many Nigerians are content to blame our national challenges on political leadership elite. But, patriotism, nationalism and the advancement of our national interests must take multiple pronged approach. It is almost trite to restate here that it is crucial to have political leadership which is accountable and equally transparent.
Similarly, Nigerian private sector operators must engage in best business practices and adopt incorruptibility as their mantra. It is an incontrovertible fact that politicians who seek to loot, pillage and plunder our patrimonies would fail at it, without the collusion, connivance and conspiracies with private sector operators. It must be clear to all therefore, the change we seek are imbued in all of us. In essence, all Nigerians should be reminded that we are all agent of the change we seek, the change we want should begin with ourselves as individuals.
Nigerian Citizens As Agents Of Change For Nigeria. Change As In Bottom Up Approach, As Opposed to Top Down Approach Which Has Not Worked for Nigeria during the preceding 50 post colonial years
The change we seek is us. the enemies we fear is us. we have met the enemies and the enemies are one and all of us
I strongly believe that the time has come for Nigerians to define Nigerians and Nigeria, instead of merely repeating, regurgitating and vomiting the millions of fair and unfair labels, castigation, denigration which have been appended to Nigerians and Nigeria over the years by persons and entities outside Nigeria
We Nigerians must, once and for all times, ask ourselves, what exactly we are about as a people and as a nation. What exactly constitutes our collective, group and national interests? We must answer questions such as whether we are a nation of doers or whiners and complainers?
Are a majority of Nigerians willing to continue to pretend as if they are mere temporary refugees in Nigeria or is it better to put roots down and determine that Nigeria’s eventual outcomes matters the world to us all? When will all Nigerians take ownership of Nigeria’s challenges and successes?
When will Nigerians and in effect, Nigeria, when will Nigerians and Nigeria grow up and mature?
Recent global incidents have reawaken and re-agitated my perception about the seeming naivety of a majority of Nigerian as to how the world really works, versus the millions of sound bites and fatuous platitudinous pronouncements made worldwide daily.
The BP oil gush, spews and spills in the Gulf of Mexico is an extraordinary and monumental environmental disaster. It occurred and for more than 60 days there were no debates by Nigerian scientists, journalists, farmers, fishermen, environmentalists or other stakeholders. This have been so, even though, the BP Catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010 was merely a drop in the ocean in the scheme of things, in comparison to the gushers and deluges of oil spillages, degradations and ruin which have been wrought upon Nigerians by oil giants and western oil conglomerates operating in Nigeria for over 50 years!
Americans and European media and press have debated the Gulf of Mexico oil spill nonstop from April 20, 2010, and since then, there have been endless and ceaseless publicity and blitzkrieg and more blitz minute by minute of the still unfolding catastrophe.
During this period, The New York Times and The Guardian UK, have both managed to showcase the 50 years old cataclysmic catastrophes on Nigerian soil which was created by the oil major and giant oil multinational, the oil conglomerates such as Shell, BP, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Texaco, Schlumberger etc.
This environmental disaster in Nigeria is by all measurements, and by all accounts, is a million times greater than the little incident in the American Gulf Coast. the Nigerian oil spillages have been going on for five decades and it is still unfolding in the Niger Delta unabated and getting worse daily.
Ordinarily, all reasonable persons would have expected Nigerians, particularly the Nigerian press, to be at the forefront in highlighting and drawing similarities, distinctions and disparities in these disasters and the publicity and the responses. But the Nigerian press and media are loudly silent!
Another recent world event, was the Soccer World Cup held in South Africa. Why was South Africa chosen over Nigeria? Nigeria has hosted international soccer tournaments during military regimes, and since the dawn of civilian democratic system of government in Nigeria in 1999.
How and why did South Africa become favored over Nigeria? It is a pleasure to see South Africa, and for that matter, any African nation host the World Cup Soccer or any such other event of such grand scale. But, the question remains, how did South Africa, with identical infrastructure and economic and social issues as most African nations, become the African nation favored by FIFA etc?
Any argument against Nigeria as to why Nigeria did not deserve to host the World Cup Soccer Fiesta is a valid argument against South Africa as well. Whether the argument is poverty, unemployment and the negligible direct immediate impact on the average citizen’s benefit as a consequence of hosting the game.
On the lips of many Nigerians, and in and in the eyes of many Nigerians, South Africa had better democratic, political and economic credentials than Nigeria and deserved the world cup hosting than Nigeria? But how can such assessments by some Nigerians be true? Particularly, given the fact that, even after twenty years post Apartheid, a majority of blacks in South Africa remain in the bottom rung and are still in abject poverty.
How did South Africa merit the award of a such a World Cup Soccer tournament, so soon after the toga and image of apartheid and international boycotts in sports, trade and diplomacy, and suddenly, it is now argued that South Africa is this translucent epitome, and pillar of democracy, the rule of law, due process and all that is good on the continent of Africa?
South Africa may no longer have Apartheid and official segregation; but, the economy remains literally, in the same hands in which it was, before President Nelson Mandela was freed from shackles. South Africa’s lands and economy still in the hands of minority whites, it can even be successfully argued, that white South African businesses and persons received the tangible economic benefits of the World Cup hosting in South Africa, while the Blacks earned the intangible, symbolic and euphoric feel good benefits!
Nigerians and Nigeria did not act in unison in lobby or through public relations or effective marketing for the hosting of the World Cup. Nigerians did not vigorously pursue hosting the World Cup Soccer. We seem to excel in campaigns against ourselves. And those who wish for us to be humiliated, are forever quick to support our campaigns against our nation.
Nigerians in this way, lobbied against a Nigerian lawyer and attorney general, who in the run for a top job at the United Nations, and some Nigerians sought to derail his proposed UN appointment. Why don’t Nigerians lobby to have Nigerians appointed, instead of lobbying against a Nigerian, any Nigerian?
Why is it, that Nigerians are only heard, Nigerians are only audaciously vocal and loud, when rallying against Nigeria? Or someone must show me, the persons, entity or nations Nigerians have rallied against with the desired effects and resu
lt the rallying Nigerian sought as an outcome? Why are we most successful when we engage in self-defeating self subverting campaigns against our nation?
Why is it that we do not seem to realize the big picture scheme of things, to the extent that the imperfections in Nigeria, frequently used by Nigerians to rally against Nigeria, are such imperfections which are simultaneously in existence elsewhere in the world, even though some Nigerians think that Nigerians and Nigeria are worse at everything in comparison to the rest of the world? While American think of Americans and America and say they are the masters of the universe and they are the epitome of exceptionalism!
Imagine an American and a Nigerian, given the mindset above, seeking progress in any field of human endeavors? Who succeeds? The American with can-do and exceptionalism attitude or self-denigrating, self lampooning, self-taunting the pity-party sobbing Nigerian who thinks he is inferior and worse than everyone else?
United Airlines just launched a direct flight to Ghana, and part of its public statement was that Ghana is a democracy and has therefore earned United Airline’s direct flights! So this is supposed to mean that United Airline does not fly China, Saudi Arabia and anywhere else where democracy is not just like it is in Ghana?
Air travel route have to be profitable for any airline in the ever fragile airline industry to open up or launch new routes. It is essentially, purely a business decision which must, in the end be profitable for the airline, before it goes the way of Pan Am, Transworld Airlines or TWA or Eastern Airlines or Braniff etc in bankruptcies and extinction
Therefore, it should be clear, first of all, United Airlines new route is business decision, bilateral agreements and profits is the sole, or at minimum, the major factor in the launch.
Profit has not ceased to be the reason for flights by airlines! Democracy is now the new criteria and there is some sorts of message for Nigeria in the preachment by United Airlines about Ghana?
I certainly did not get that memo or email! Perhaps United Airlines should dissuade Delta Airlines from flying Nigeria, since Nigeria may not match Ghana in democratic credentialing criteria? We should learn to recognize silliness when they occur.
Nigerians and other Africans must learn the way the world works and act only in own best interests