As an African in the Diaspora, I get questioned a lot about when if ever I intend to return home. My answer in my first year abroad was just as soon as I completed my Masters and maybe worked for a year. That answer has since become a big question mark.
Some months ago I had a conversation with some family members where I was accused of not liking Nigeria and I vehemently defended myself. If I am to have that conversation now, perhaps my defense of myself might not be so strong.
I have become accustomed to a way of life and to things ‘working’ that what was once a fiercely burning fire to develop and improve my country has become ebbing coals. Isn’t this true of many of us? It may even be the reason why often, our elected officials hardly do anything when they assume power. The fact is, it is harder to empathize or feel something as strongly when you are physically removed from it.
By no means is this a justification of our leaders, indeed they have failed and continue to fail us on several levels. Anyone who has ever been hungry for a considerable length of time would know that at that time, you remember those who have nothing to eat on a daily basis, images of hunger stricken children who could die of starvation may even flash in your head; but the moment you have eaten to your belly’s satisfaction those images and other such fade away from your memory. This is what I believe happens to our leaders. They know that there are many plagues to get rid of they just are no longer that much afflicted and so things slide.
Having said that, most of us grew up with the desire to make Nigeria a better place; some like me, even took up community development projects during the service year which earned them the State’s recognition and award. So many of us (home and abroad) love Nigeria and desire to see her fulfill her potential or at least provide her people with the basic human needs: electricity, water, good roads and education.
Hardly can one attend a gathering of more than 2 Nigerians without the topic of our Nation being broached. One then wonders that with the amount of conversations, the fact that we are all agreed that there is a lot to be done, why is it not being done?
We have had it said that ‘your today is a reflection of your yesterday’ hence our today is also a reflection of our tomorrow. Does it then mean that the generations before us inflicted us with this expert ability to theorize but not practicalize. When will the veil separating these be torn? Or shall we breed a generation that would be afraid to even broach theory?
Most developed nations had citizens who lost their lives along the way for what they believed in. Many lives are already being lost in our Nation to crime and other evil perpetrations. Playing the ‘we were colonized’ cards would no longer wash either. Were we the only ones? How come some of the other colonies have advanced more than us in spite of our Nation being one of the most richly endowed country with natural resources in the World. Besides, whilst still on colonization, it has been 48 years since we became independent and that’s 2 years more than the years we were colonized so there really is no excuse.
I want to believe that change is in the works in Nigeria. But is it? Not unless we all get back to being passionate and determined to make good our childhood desires of making Nigeria better. It is all in our hands every single one of us and there is no escaping from it.
Let us make it our priority to rekindle the flame. If we all put in our best then we will be able to say like Abraham Lincoln ‘ I do the very best I can, the very best I know how, if the end brings me out right then good, if not, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.